Intergenerational Volunteer Program
Organization Sponsor: Seniors Activitation and Maintenance Program
- Effects of intergenerational Montessori-based activities programming on engagement of nursing home residents with dementia
In September, I visit the local Montessori school and give the children an orientation about our program, the clients we serve and some of the activities they will be involved with. I ensure that I have consent from the parents and give them a brief overview of the program before the children start their volunteer rotation. I provide the teacher with a monthly calendar that is returned with the children scheduled in daily time slots. We see one child a day. The children are scheduled independently for a 45 minute time frame. During this time they are given different duties that assist the clients and staff with the planned activities. Some duties consist of score keeping, retrieving balls/beanbags, bingo callers, assisting clients with vision or hearing loss, etc. At the end of the school year we recognize our young volunteers with a pizza party and certificates. It is at this time, I encourage the children to continue with their volunteer work throughout the summer and other school breaks.
The Intergenerational Volunteer Program is beneficial for everyone involved. The benefits are endless, including teaching the children the importance of volunteering, at a young age.
The conclusions to be drawn from this study are relatively straightforward. IGP between older residents with dementia and younger children can be successfully developed using Montessori-based activities as the interface between dyads. This approach enabled long-term care residents with dementia to be successfully engaged in one-to-one dyads with preschool children, even for older adults with more advanced cognitive deficits. This approach elicited higher levels of positive (ie, constructive) engagement and lower levels of negative (ie, merely passive or non-activity focused) engagement in long-term care residents with dementia than standard activities programming.
Program has been running for 12 years