|Alliance for Better Long Term Care|
|Building Bridges Program|
| What is Building Bridges?|
Building Bridges is a model program that provides visiting opportunities between children and the frail elderly. Local elementary schools, preschools, and community groups are recruited to bring children into nursing facilities for regular monthly visits. The residents and children do projects together and share experiences. Communications between the children and nursing home residents is simple and easy, colored by the natural affection found between grandparents and grandchildren.
Building Bridges is:
A unique learning experience for children, one that cannot be gained in the classroom or from books
A chance for children to become sensitized to the special needs of the frail elderly and handicapped.
An upbeat program which promotes good public relations and encourages community involvement.
An opportunity to instill the spirit of volunteerism early in life.
An introduction to careers in the health care field.
Building Bridges can be you.
One of the most rapidly growing movements in education is intergenerational programming.
Intergenerational programs build a new sense of respect for the individuality and worth of older people.
Who Builds Bridges?
Each year, the number of participants in the Building Bridges program grows. By 1989, the fourth year of the program, over 600 children from 30 different classes and community groups had visited some 500 nursing home residents. A dramatic increase from the first year!
Who is involved in Building Bridges?
Head Start Programs.
Public and private schools.
Adjudicated youths ages 14 – 18
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA’s and community groups.
Would you become involved in Building Bridges?
The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is those 85 years and older. Often, residency in a nursing home is the likely outcome of growing older. Nearly half of all nursing home residents receive no visits from family or friends.
How Does Building Bridges Work?
Building Bridges is a collaborative program which closely aligns schools, community organizations and nursing homes. As a statewide network of individual groups, Building Bridges relies upon the cooperative relationship between the nursing home, the children’s group, and the Building Bridges staff.
How does Building Bridges Work?
A representative from the visiting group and the nursing home serve as coordinators for the visitation
program. These leaders work together to design joint activities for the children and residents.
Building bridges staff serve as resources for planning and problem solving.
A Building Bridges newsletter provides ideas and regular information.
Meetings of participating groups and nursing homes offer networking opportunities.
Building Bridges works because of people like you.
In 1989, over 600 children visited 25 nursing homes throughout Rhode Island.
Building an understanding of aging is everyone’s responsibility.
How Can You Become Involved?
Building Bridges is seeking schools, community groups and nursing homes to join the network. Won’t you consider participating? Enhance the quality of life for children and nursing home residents through this unique visitation program. Build bridges between the young and the old. Call Building Bridges at 785-3340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Bridges…A Program of the Alliance for Better Long Term Care.
The Alliance for Better Long Term Care promotes the quality of life and care of residents of nursing homes and other long-term care institutions.
Alliance services include:
Information and referral for families and nursing home residents.
Educational workshops for the community.
Training and technical assistance for nursing homes and residents councils.
Advocacy for improved legislation.
Spanning the Generations for a Better Life.
Nearly half of all nursing home residents receive no visits from family or friends. Nursing home residents are chronically alone. Isolated. Many children have no living grandparents. These youngsters are missing a precious experience.
Almost one quarter of all Americans will spend some time in a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing homes are largely isolated from the rest of society. Despite the good intentions of family and friends, nursing home residents are not visited frequently. Some, of course, live in the nursing facility precisely because they have no family member to care for them outside of the institutional setting. As a result, many nursing home residents experience terrible loneliness and depression.
The Alliance for Better Long Term Care decided to take action.
In the fall of 1985, forty pre-school children from a Warwick Head Start Program began to visit the residents of a local nursing home. Old and young talked. They made crafts, celebrated Halloween with a costume parade, and shared cookies together.
The children went home and told their parents about these special new friends. Soon, some parents and their children began to visit the nursing home on weekends.
Bridges were built.
That’s what it’s all about. Building bridges between young and old…spanning the generations for a better life.