Thursday, December 18, 2014

Intergenerational Holiday Gift Ideas

by Sheri Steinig

All of us at Generations United wish you, and those you love, a happy intergenerational holiday season. This is a great time of year to give the gift that shows the power unleashed when generations connect.

Here are some ideas.

Books:
Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar By Keith Richards (Author), Theodora Richards (Illustrator)
Long before there was a band, there was a boy: a young Keith Richards, who was introduced to the joy of music through his beloved granddad, Theodore Augustus Dupree, affectionately known as "Gus," who was in a jazz big band and is the namesake of Keith's daughter, Theodora Dupree Richards. GUS & ME offers a rare and intimate look into the childhood of the legendary Keith Richards through this poignant and inspiring story that is lovingly illustrated with Theodora Richards's exquisite pen-and-ink collages. This unique autobiographical picture book honors the special bond between a grandfather and grandson and celebrates the artistic talents of the Richards family through the generations. Learn more 
Orphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline
Christina Baker Kline's ORPHAN TRAIN follows Vivian Daly, who, as a child, was one of the abandoned children traveling on what were called "orphan trains" that ran regularly from East Coast cities to Midwest farmlands. Vivian, a New York City-native sent to an uncertain future a world away, later returns east and lives a quiet life on the coast of Maine. Through a volunteer program, the older widow enlists the help of 17-year-old Molly Ayer, who knows her community-service position is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. As Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes, she learns that she and Vivian have a shared experience of being outsiders raised by strangers, and that they both have unanswered questions about their past. http://christinabakerkline.com/novels/orphan-train/
Films:
Keep On Keepin' On
KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON depicts the remarkable story of 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry. A living monument to the Golden Era of Jazz, having played in both the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands. He broke racial barriers on American television and mentored the likes of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but his most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year old blind piano prodigy. Justin, fighting a debilitating case of stage fright, is invited to compete in a prestigious competition, while Clark’s health takes a serious turn. The two face the toughest challenges of their lives. The result is an intimate portrait of two remarkable men–a student striving against all odds and a teacher who continues to inspire through the power of music. Select showings in theatres and available for pre-order. DVD release January 13, 2015. Learn more
UP (Not a new release, but one worth watching with family and friends of all ages)
In UP, from Disney/Pixar, retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, an overeager 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer Russell is on Carl's front porch! The world's most unlikely duo meet fantastic friends like Dug, a dog with a special collar that allows him to speak, and Kevin, a rare 13-foot tall flightless bird. Stuck together in the wilds of the jungle, Carl realizes that sometimes life's biggest adventures aren't the ones you set out looking for.
Music:
Cheek to Cheek – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
In September, Tony Bennett, 88, and Lady Gaga, 28, put out their album, CHEEK TO CHEEK. While the album stemmed from Bennett and Gaga's desire to introduce jazz standards to a younger audience, it is a testament to the creativity unleashed when different generations work together. “I have been singing the Great American Songbook my entire career and all along forging a bridge between pop and jazz music,” said Bennett. “Creating this album with Lady Gaga has been a beautiful experience as she is a fantastic singer and I am hoping that all her fans will embrace this music and swing along with it.” The experience of making the album and working with Bennett was transformative for Gaga. As she recounted in an interview, “So when I say ‘at this point in my career’, he’s changed my life for me because he’s gonna make my art better from this moment on. Because he said: ‘Hey, you’re so much better than you’re even letting yourself be.’ ” Learn more
Bridges – Mary Sarah
On her album BRIDGES, released in July of this year, 18-year-old singer and songwriter Mary Sarah duets with some of country music’s biggest names. The album features Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, the Oak Ridge Boys, the late Ray Price and others singing with Mary Sarah on their most iconic hits. Mary Sarah wants to connect those who love traditional country with those who follow today’s more polished sound. “I see Bridges as something that spans now and then,” she says, “and brings that music back over to this generation.” http://marysarah.com
TV:
Click image to view enlarged version.
Parenthood on NBC
Now in its final season, PARENTHOOD is a favorite among Generations United’s network for its depiction of a multigenerational family. Past seasons are available for purchase on DVD or to watch on Netflix.
The Goldbergs on ABC
In its second season, THE GOLDBERGS is a comedy set in the 1980s and is loosely based on the showrunner's own childhood. The series focuses on the family of five and prominently features a grandfather who is frequently around to provide advice or help out his grandchildren. The first season is now available on DVD.
Games:
Last Letter
Thinkfun’s fresh take on the simple last letter game will inspire creativity, laughter and quick thinking. Race to come up with and blurt out a word from one of the picture cards in your hand, remembering that your word must begin with the last letter of the word previously called. Unique illustrations will spark imagination and allow for endless opportunities for new words. Recommended for ages 8 and up. http://www.thinkfun.com/lastletter
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games produces games for computers and mobile devices, offering a wide assortment of games for people of all ages. There are many games here that would interest both younger and older people. http://www.bigfishgames.com

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Windsor Place Age to Age Learning

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.


In the latest of series, we feature Windsor Place Age to Age Learning, based in Iola, Kansas.


Windsor Place is a skilled nursing center in Iola. They are unique in that they have not only older people there, but they also have an "age to age" program with the Iola school system, which results in a pre-school classroom in the building. The kids and the elders have so much fun together!

In addtion, they offer a "Home Again" wing for short term Medicare people needing therapy and are planning to go back to their home in the community.  In addition,   they have a wellness center for the community to come in and use.

The Iola school district chose to place their preschool at Windsor Place in 2010, and after one full year, the whole community is chalking it up as a success!  This is a legacy that began with an idea and grew to fruition in Iola. The facility is excited to be able to host a classroom and continue the fight against loneliness, helplessness and boredom  for the elderly, as well as provide an unique education to each of the children.
This "age to age" classroom is organized where children are partnered at various points throughout the day with the elders (also called "grandmas" or "grandpas") to read, exercise and learn valuable lessons that only the elders can provide.
The grandmas and grandpas are always excited about meeting the children as they come in the first thing in the morning. The staff is excited to see the residents much more intereseted in getting up and getting their day started all because "It's a school day!"
The grandmas and grandpas also have the luxury throughout the day of getting to watch the preschoolers at work in the classroom by way of a large glass viewing window.
These pictures were taken the first day of school and meeting the new grandmas/grandpas was a whole new experience for the preschoolers. By the end of the year, last year's preschoolers didn't want to leave, and the grandmas and grandpas were equally sad.  This

is just the second "age to age" classroom in Kansas and visitors are welcome to come into Windsor Place and peer through the large classroom window, or maybe, you will be there at the right time to see the grandmas and grandpas actually engaging with the preschoolers.
There are two groups of preschoolers:
You can visit at these times as the children have eaten and are ready to learn.
Ooen Monday-Friday 8:30a.m-11:15a.m.;12:30p.m.-2:45p.m.
Either way, it is an exploration you will get a kick out of! Call ahead or consult the front desk for a visit.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to ourIntergenerational Connections Facebook Group or just text us through the FacebookMessenger app (friend me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion). We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Grand Canyon National Park With Your Grandchild: Colorado River Rafting and a Historic Train Ride

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.




Colorado River Rafting and a Historic Train Ride is among the 5,500 intergenerational educational tours Road Scholar offers in all 50 states and 150 countries.
Alongside local and renowned experts, grandparents and grandchildren experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities, from cultural tours and study cruises to walking, biking and more.
At the Grand Canyon National Park adventure, all ages raft the Colorado River beneath towering 800-foot sandstone cliffs, free fall to the “Giant Swing” and enjoy a two-hour train ride to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to ourIntergenerational Connections Facebook Group or just text us through the FacebookMessenger app (friend me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion). We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

K-9 Healers Intergenerational Pet Therapy Project

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

In part 24 of our series, we feature the K-9 Healers Intergenerational Pet Therapy Project, which is based in Branchport, NY.

(Check our archives for parts 1-23.)

Since 1995 the K-9 Healers Intergenerational Pet Therapy Project or “K-9 Kids” has been a project that brings together youth, residents of the Homestead Long Term Care Facility, and registered Pet Therapy dogs.

Gail Furst founded this program in 1995 with her registered Pet Therapy Boxer, “Rosie”, and one child visiting the Homestead room to room.

The program gives youth the opportunity to develop safe, caring relationships with the senior citizens while at the same time taking pride in their work as dog handlers and helpers.

The youth come to the after-school program every Wednesday during the school year. They arrive at the Homestead, join the three facilitators and gather in a common room to talk about their day.

Once everyone has had a chance to relax they go and join the residents in their activity room to participate in an intergenerational craft project. 

During the program the youth share who gets to take care of the dogs, as well as helping some of the residents cut paper, glue, and finish their art project. Throughout the program the youth are showered with praise by the facilitators as well as the residents.

The K-9 Kids goals include enhancing each participant’s use of personal power through learning how to control a dog in a nursing home; providing human and canine companionship to nursing home Residents; promoting each participant’s ability to use self-control; increasing each participant’s self esteem, empathy, patience, and positive sense of self-worth; teaching the participant’s how to praise and providing them with opportunities to receive praise from facilitators, residents, and each other.

The program also teaches the children reverence for life.

K-9 Kids is a program funded by Yates County Community Services, which distributes funds to the Rushville Health Center, where Ms. Furst was the Outreach Department Director for over 15 years.

To date the K-9 Kids has serviced over 1000 youth living in Yates County.

The K-9 Kids Project has been nationally recognized twice. The first was when it was listed by the Humane Society of the United States directory of Animal-Related Programs for Violence Prevention and Intervention (www.hsus.org).

The second recognition was by America’s Promise in 2000. America’s Promise is a campaign founded by General Colin Powell (www.americaspromise.org).

K-9 Kids was highlighted as a program that brings youth into Finger Lakes Health, with which the Homestead is affiliated.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #cooligideas? You can also post them to ourIntergenerational Connections Facebook Group or just text us through the FacebookMessenger app (friend me to join our Cool Intergenerational Ideas group discussion). We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Holidays are not always merry and bright

by Jaia Peterson Lent

as published in GRAND Magazine

Conner stood attentively at the screen door, his bright brown eyes fixed on the street in front of his grandmother's house, his hands clutching a clay figurine of a turkey he had made for his mom. She had promised to come for Thanksgiving dinner.

“One slice of turkey, three peas, two helpings of mashed potatoes, five books, and four rounds of Crazy Eights later, Connor was still waiting. “It’s bedtime,” his grandmother said, “How about we change into our pj’s and watch your favorite show?”

“No,” Connor shouted, “I want to watch it with Mommy!” Within minutes, his hurt feelings escalated to full-blown tantrum.

Three hours later, Conner was finally asleep, his head resting on his Grandpa's lap. His grandmother gently slid the clay turkey figurine out of Conner's hand, and covered him and his sleeping Grandpa with a blanket. Only then could she breathe a little easier.

Meeting the challenges that come with holidays

This time of year, more than 2.7 million grandparents raising grandchildren find themselves navigating a unique set of holiday stressors. Not only do they have to prepare their grandchildren for the possibility that the children’s parents won’t show up—they have to steel themselves to weather the fallout, all while simultaneously juggling their own loss, grief, anger, and confusion related to the reasons their adult child is not able to care for their grandchild.

Despite the gaiety one hopes to experience during the holidays, grandchildren not living with their parents often feel a mixture of joy, anxiety, excitement, and sadness. No matter their age, grandchildren may not know how to deal with the emotional swings that come with disappointment, or even with pleasant surprises. What you need is a GRANDfamily strategy!

Manage the children’s expectations: If you know that their parents will not be participating in any way during the holiday celebrations, gently tell your grandchildren ahead of time. That way, if the parents show up or send a present, it’s far easier to share the good news. If the parents don’t show, it may soften the blow and help them avoid feeling forgotten or ignored.

Support the child’s desire to give: Children love their parents, even when they have been hurt by them. It’s important to let them express how they feel. During holidays, this may come through giving. Even if you fear it won’t be reciprocated, it’s important to help them find joy in giving.

Keep it simple: You can’t be everything to everyone. Figure out the few key people that your grandchildren need to see over the holidays and focus on making those gatherings the best they can be.

Create your own traditions: Children need routine, tradition, and rituals. When they had to leave mom and/or dad's home, the rituals they had were interrupted. Holidays are a terrific time to introduce some new fun traditions that don’t revolve around parents.

Jaia Peterson Lent is the Deputy Executive Director at Generations United, a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policy and programs. Home to the National Center on Grandfamilies, Generations United is a leading voice for issues affecting families headed by grandparents or other relatives.