Aeron Adams, DNP, RN, PMHNP
In addition to Aeron’s work, we have conducted interviews with residents, their families and caregivers, and family members of former residents. These conversations have uncovered several common themes, confirming our perspective on what Hope & A Future is providing to its residents and community members. We had three insights from these interviews last year:
1. Families of residents
have had increased
confidence in the care
Karin reflects further on this insight here.
related quality of life
Intentional, intergenerational community utilizes social connection as a way to improve quality of life, health, and sustainability. Higher levels of social support and connection are associated with better health throughout the lifespan. For optimal well-being, people need to help as much as they need to be helped.
3. The Therapeutic, Interactive, Intergenerational,
Neighborhood (TIIN) at Hope & A Future is distinct
from other programs.
It adds unique value to residents and the broader community. Bringing people together from different ages and backgrounds creates a unique mix of talents and resources also known as social capital. This is illustrated well through Cami’s Story.
We know about the health related outcomes for seniors from a literature review by Aeron as well as reflecting on what we have learned through interviews with community members.
Health Risks for Seniors that the TIIN Addresses
One of the main purposes of an intentional, intergenerational neighborhood is to promote social relationships. This enhancement of social connection is vital to ameliorating the deleterious effects of loneliness in seniors who may have lost friends, spouses, and other relatives to death (Steptoe et al., 2013). Chan, Raman, Ma, and Malhotra (2015) found that seniors living with family who nevertheless perceived themselves to be lonely, were still at heightened risk for poor health outcomes.
Other Health Issues Addressed
In conjunction with increasing physical activity, intergenerational neighborhoods can help promote healthy eating habits. Activities such as community gardening, preparing, and sharing meals together are ways to learn about healthy foods and sustainable food production (Walter, 2013). For example, the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project through the University of British Columbia partners school children and community seniors to grow, harvest, and prepare local foods together. The goals of the Landed Learning Project are to raise self-efficacy, environmental stewardship, and personal health within an intergenerational partnership (University of British Columbia, n.d.). Hope & A Future currently has large gardens in place and is looking to focus on community gardening once the TIIN is built.
Stories From Our Community:
When Nadine’s husband died early in her life, she took a typing course and went to work for the telephone company. Nadine’s daughter Jan recalls her mom being active in the broader community. Over the course of her life, Nadine volunteered at Jan’s school and as a crossing guard, later serving as President of the PTA. She also volunteered at Iowa Methodist Hospital, eventually working as a nurse’s assistant. She also served as primary caregiver for an aunt and for her own mother.
Late in life, Nadine developed Alzheimer’s disease, but was still a strong person with a wide range of skills and experiences. At Hope & A Future, she enjoyed outings around the city. Jan recalls her mom being a marvelous cook and that their family loved to host social gatherings. During her time at Hope & A Future, Nadine still liked helping to prepare meals and enjoyed being in the middle of activity, even if she wasn’t doing anything specific herself, though she often participated. One of the real benefits of providing care for seniors on a smaller scale, in the context of an Adult Family Home, is that seniors can continue these connections to household actives, through which community connections and relationships are formed and maintained.
We are so thankful for all who have contributed to this amazing story of building a dream into a reality. Learn more!