What happens when wisdom and wonder meet? Intergenerational bonds flourish!

Posted by Rachel Cabeceira on Jan 10, 2024

I'm Rachel Cabeceira, Journey Program Manager at Aspira The Barrieview Retirement Living. There are many aspects of my job that I love. Seeing my residents who live with memory loss live with purpose and engaging in meaningful activities daily is incredibly rewarding. Our team is always looking for new ways to infuse activity and energy into the daily lives of residents.

Not long ago I was on maternity leave with my little one, Ozzy, and heard from other parents about Life with Baby, a local organization that connects caregivers and their babies with different groups in the community such as long-term care homes. I immediately thought, why not retirement communities too? As soon as I returned to work I started working on setting up our own intergenerational program.

StorytimeEvery few months, we have adorable toddlers and babies, along with their families, visit with residents at The Barrieview. Together, we do all sorts of activities, enjoy snacks, and listen to residents read stories aloud.

Opening our doors to local families has been a great way to create deeper connections in the community. Residents enjoy the liveliness that comes with babies and toddlers, and it gives them the opportunity to entertain, play and teach. They feel involved and needed, which is so vital. And these feelings linger long after the families have left. It's like the whole home gets this lift, and everyone – staff and residents alike – looks forward to the next event.

Retired nurse holds babyLast year, we hosted five Life with Baby events, and there's this one memory sticks with me. One of our residents from the Journey Program, who used to be a maternity nurse, held a newborn in her arms for over an hour. The joy on her face, the memories it brought back – it was just incredible to witness. And it's not just her; I've seen residents break into smiles and play peekaboo with a three-year-old. Or someone having a difficult day suddenly light up, helping a toddler learn to colour.

Children have this magical way of making everyone live in the moment, and really, that's the best place to be. These intergenerational events at The Barrieview are more than just activities – they're about building bridges between generations, about sharing laughs, learning, and creating those priceless moments. It's about the magic that unfolds when you bring together the freshness of youth and the wisdom of age. And let me tell you, it's a beautiful thing to be a part of!


senior stretches arm toward smiling toddler





Topics: Cultivating Happiness, Innovative Programs, Ontario, Aspira, Retirement Living, Aspira Retirement Living, Aspira Life, Create Community