I want to alert everyone to a great story this morning on NPR about the Intergenerational School in Cleveland that utilizes volunteers of all ages to mentor children. The twist is that the school also has Alzheimer’s patients teach children to read. Despite losing their memory the older volunteers are still able to effectively teach children to read. The children at the school seem to cherish them, even if the volunteers don’t remember last week’s activity.
It turns out that it’s not just the children that benefit from the extra help around the classroom. The seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia are able to stay active and have increased cognitive activity. Researchers are studying the volunteers to see if their participation in the programs has health benefits, like decreased instances of depression. I can’t wait to see the results of the study and hope others will follow Cleveland Intergenerational School’s lead.
Congratulations are in order to Nancy and Peter Whitelaw for their pioneering work in Ohio. Well done!
Link to the story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91402614