For the past 13 years, Hebrew SeniorLife has welcomed full-time German volunteers to support programming in our communities. These young volunteers, typically 18 or 19 years old, have all come to us through Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, an organization that has been sending volunteers around the globe for over 50 years to work in communities that suffered from the crimes and horrors of Nazi Germany.
At Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), we are always on the lookout for opportunities to bring seniors and young people together to build relationships and shatter stereotypes. We’re also deeply invested in training future generations of senior care providers. So when the opportunity came along to build a program that would combine the two, we jumped at the chance.
In a Huffington Post article titled “Generational Warfare Is a Media Myth: Seniors and Kids Need Each Other,” from November 2014, a clear rationale for intergenerational programming is outlined. Children and adults thrive on face-to-face contact. In fact, it is suggested that there is an inclination for older adults to connect with and guide children, which likely results in increased happiness and positive emotional well-being, according to research by George Vaillant of Harvard Medical School.
“It’s one of the prize accomplishments that I have had, to be able to be attached to young people and to benefit from them and for them to benefit from me.” These are the words of Irving Silverman, a 96-year-old resident of NewBridge on the Charles, discussing his friendship with 16-year-old Mariah MacKenzie through the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program at Hebrew SeniorLife.
Time away with family can be wonderful – and sometimes challenging. Kids of all ages are occasionally prone to fighting, sulking, whining, and burying their heads in their phones. It can be frustrating even to the most patient grandparents.
Meaningful time together can create a lifetime of memories, so how can you help make your family time fulfilling and enjoyable for all when taking vacations with grandchildren? We interviewed parents, children and grandparents who had some terrific advice to share. Read on for their words of advice, and ours as well!
In their words: “Bring earplugs!”
In our words: “Take time for yourself.”
Nursing students begin their careers with the understanding that caring for ill and frail people will include having a large population of seniors as their patients. And while caring for them in times of greatest need is vitally important, they often never have the opportunity to get to know patients as people and relate to their more specific medical needs associated with aging.
Deuteronomy 15:7-10 teaches us, "If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren...you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be."
This past Sunday, Hebrew SeniorLife opened its hand to 500 Jewish residents in the Greater Boston community with a holiday meal to support celebration of Rosh Hashana. Roughly 75 volunteers of all ages helped pack and deliver meals to homebound seniors and others needing food support.
Professor Anna Ornstein stood at the front of the room to help frame an extraordinary day at Hebrew SeniorLife. In her presence were eleven wounded Israeli soldiers who had been on the front lines of battleserving their country.