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How our senior living community crosses the generational divide

older man and child

Over the past two years, I’ve had a front row seat watching the vision of a multigenerational campus blossom into an extraordinary program that impacts hundreds of seniors and students at NewBridge on the Charles. As I work with our team to plan for the coming school year, I am looking forward to building on our successes, and pushing ourselves to think creatively about additional opportunities to bring meaning and joy to people across our campus.

The Rashi School is a Jewish Independent School for students in kindergarten through 8th grade, and is located about 200 yards from the doors of NewBridge on the Charles.  This proximity has enabled us to explore many programming options over the past two years.  Residents in the Independent Living community volunteer regularly at the school as teacher and library aides, reading and math tutors, and special guest speakers on a wide array of topics.  Lower school students come to NewBridge to meet with Assisted Living residents, sharing performances and working on projects together.  Middle school students come to the NewBridge campus to support residents in the Memory Support units, and engage in fitness activities in the long-term care communities.  Each week, kids pour in and out of the doors to NewBridge, bringing with them a “rush of life”, as one resident so aptly described.

So, what’s next?  Over the past couple of years, we’ve focused our efforts on creating opportunities for students at Rashi to connect with residents across all areas of the campus.  We’re creating a continuum of experience and exposure from kindergarten through 8th grade, creating learning opportunities for all, and bringing joy and meaning to residents’ lives.  That’s worked, for sure.  Kids feel deeply connected to the NewBridge community, and residents eagerly attend our diverse number of programs.  But we’ve seen the greatest beauty in long-term one-on-one relationships between students and seniors.  This year, we’re going to work on building additional opportunities for sustained connection -- buddy programs – the relationships that shape our children and sustain our community.  Our possibilities are endless, and our goal is simple – to change lives!

The story is best told through the voices of participants. Listen to Cynthia Shulman’s reflection on the multigenerational programs at NewBridge.

Lynda Bussgang's picture

About the Blogger

Multigenerational Program Manager

Lynda is the Multigenerational Program Manager for Hebrew SeniorLife, and has focused much of her work to date on programming at NewBridge on the Charles and its partnerships with the neighboring Rashi School and the Dedham Public Schools. Lynda is responsible for overseeing and developing multigenerational programs for all of Hebrew Senior Life’s housing communities, as this cutting edge approach enhances senior living, and positively impact child development. Lynda sits on the National Board of Directors of Facing History and Ourselves and is an active board member at The Rashi School....

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