Award-Winning J.O.Y. (Joining Older and Younger) Program
J.O.Y. is a unique way for our community to engage with the local area and focus on intergenerational communication. It won the Best of the Best Award in 2019 from senior living association, Argentum, in the category of Family and Resident Engagement.
J.O.Y. is an award-winning multigenerational communication program for seniors and younger generations to connect through ongoing partnerships and collaborative activities, events, and projects. Let’s examine the benefits of the J.O.Y. Program.
Bringing generations together to learn from each other is as old as humanity itself. Throughout history, elders were respected within a community as the wise individuals with extensive knowledge of the past. To bring generations together, the elders would utilize oral storytelling as a primary form of entertainment, education, and instruction. Nowadays, there are more challenges disseminating information within humankind as the generational gap increasingly emphasizes the cultural differences between older and younger generations. However, there is value and importance of bringing people of all ages together through intergenerational programs.
Benefits of Intergenerational Programs include:
- Limiting Isolation
For a quarter of seniors over 65, isolation and loneliness are common. By creating long term partnerships between organizations, this provides an opportunity for seniors to interact with younger generations. In addition, it encourages both generations to participate, socialize, and communicate with each other.
- Positive Health Benefits
Seniors who participate in intergenerational programs are more active. In turn they have more energy, burn more calories, and participate in more physical activity.
- Learning New Skills
Older adults can learn new technologies from the younger generation and youth can benefit from mentoring from their wise friends. Having the opportunity to spend time and connect with others makes this experience mutually beneficial for both age groups.
- Filling Family Gaps
For younger generations who may no longer have their grandparents or older adults around, these opportunities allow for them to engage with this demographic and fill the social gap. This also allows them to learn about differences in viewpoints, how to care for seniors, and to expand their experiences with a different demographic.
In November 2017, Senior Living Communities launched the J.O.Y. (Joining Older and Younger) program at each of our sister communities. Our community has partnered with outside organizations and maintains ongoing and consistent participation with them. Having long standing partnerships creates consistent interactions with participants where they can connect through their life experiences. Other senior living entities will welcome volunteers and groups for a one-time event, but these experiences do not foster long term relationships. At the core of this partnership, the participants of all ages, from elementary school through Graduate school, form an ongoing connection or friendship between participants creating a lasting impact. Organizers utilized wellness and social programs with the anticipated results of higher event attendance, healthier lifestyle, and to live out our community’s mission of living a “Weller Life”.
Outcomes of the J.O.Y. Program
By creating and maintaining the J.O.Y. Program, there has been a proven change in the community culture. Throughout the month, the community’s programming (social and wellness) teams schedule events for Members and the program participants to attend. By creating these lasting partnerships and opening the doors of communication, it has enabled the participants to mutually impact each other with their different life experiences. All properties measure participation through an attendance tracking system and have seen a significant increase in attendance at all of the J.O.Y. partnerships. As the participants realized the value in the J.O.Y. Program organizers have also seen an increase in participation from organizational partnerships as it continues to reach a wider audience.
Some examples of J.O.Y. Program events include:
- Sporting Events
– Miniature Golf Competitions and partnering with a high school girls Golf Team
– Pickleball Competitions teaming up with middle school students.
- School-aged Partnerships
Students from local schools came to join wellness classes, complete crafts, worked on interviewing and life skills, learned about careers, held technology classes for Members teaching them how to use their devices. In addition, Members read to students, Members held tea parties for students (teaches table etiquette), as well as created and performed puppet shows. This is only a small snippet of the variety of programs that are held in the communities.
- Nutrition 101
Partnership with undergraduate students to provide a continuing nutrition program for Members.
- College Preparation
Students are paired with a Member that has held a career in the field that they are studying. Assists them with college applications, career exploration, networking, and general knowledge of the field.
- Culture Classes
Partnership with local High School Exchange Students. The students work with Members to provide an overview about their culture and lifestyle.
- Honor Society Service Projects
Members partnered with students for their service projects and with events throughout the community.
The J.O.Y. Program is one of many ways that Members live the Weller Life at Senior Living Communities. This unique program is an excellent way to bring multiple generations together to learn more about each other and provide both groups with long-lasting connections and friendships.
To learn more about how we continue to live the Weller Life at The Lakes at Litchfield, talk to one of our Lifestyle Advisor’s today at 843-314-1395.