Have you ever heard of a pre-school being located in of all places a retirement home? Well apparently there are some 500 intergenerational programs at senior centers and long term care facilities across the country.
Filmmaker Evan Briggs lives in Seattle. When she found out that Providence Mount St. Vincent, a retirement home in her community, was also home to a pre-school program, she knew she had to do a documentary about it that would show people “the very real experience of aging in America–both growing up and growing old.” As she explained to CNN’s Daphne Sashin: “There is so much wisdom and life experience that our elderly members of society have that we’re just not availing ourselves of, and that just seems like a huge loss.”
Turns out the Seattle program has been around for 25 years. Its director, Marie Hoover, explained how it got started: “It was clear to the leadership, at the time, that creating the feeling of ‘a village’ was going to require the addition of children along with a robust place to bring the two age groups together.”
And so a caring community has been created where young children and their elder friends get to talk, sing, read, dance and do art together. The kids receive a lot of unconditional love from their older playmates. And the youngsters add joy, laughter and meaning to the lives of the seniors.
And like in any good relationship, they try their best to help each other in any way they can. That’s where the touching moments come that Briggs has captured in her film titled Present Perfect, where both generations fully relate to each other in the present moment.
Briggs says, “…there is no reason this can’t be replicated anywhere.” She certainly hopes her film will inspire more communities to bring young and old together. What wonderful gifts they give to each other!