1The nursing home that gives residents foster kittens to care for
Pima Animal Care of Tucson has teamed up with Catalina Springs Memory Care nursing home to care for orphaned kittens. It's a win-win program, with kittens receiving round-the-clock care from numerous volunteer nursing home residents, and they feel wonderful doing it.
The first kittens fostered at the nursing home were Peaches and Turtle, each weighing only seven ounces. They quickly gained weight with around-the-clock care and feeding and will soon be ready for adoption.
2The nursing home that created a movie-themed calendar with its residents as stars
Essen, Germany's Contilia Retirement Home put together this calendar featuring some of their residents recreating iconic movies scenes. It includes moments from films like Titanic, Mary Poppins, The Blues Brothers, Dirty Dancing, and more!
3The nursing home designed to resemble a 1940's neighborhood
The Lantern Of Chagrin Valley is located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and it's one of three incredible facilities that have been specifically designed with Alzheimer's and dementia patients in mind. It's designed to resemble a small neighborhood — its "houses" have front porches that lead out to a simulated golf course, which gives the living facility the feel of a 1940's community.
Extraordinary attention is in every detail, including the paint schemes. "Every little thing you see, the wall color, the paint, actually has a therapeutic benefit, therapeutic value," said CEO Jean Makesh.
Makesh decided to create a facility which incorporated these ideas into a positive living experience after he learned how controlled environments could be helpful in reducing anxiety, anger, and depression.
4The retirement home where students are invited to live rent free while helping its residents
Humanitas is not your typical retirement home, and its residents aren't typical seniors.
Knowing that those living in retirement communities face loneliness and isolation, and students often struggle to afford decent housing, Humanitas, a Dutch volunteer organization, decided to combine their needs. In 2015, six students from Saxion and Windesheim University in moved into the retirement home — rent free. They are, however, required to spend at least 30 hours per month with the elderly residents, as “good neighbors.” The students hold workshops, help with activities, and spend time getting to know the seniors. In turn, they get life lessons and advice, and the seniors feel more connected to the world, and everyone gets the benefit of a different perspective on things!
5The preschool that operates from inside a nursing home
The concept is similar to the previous on this list only with smaller kids. The young and the old connect and learn from one another at Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle. Home to about 400 elderly residents, the facility also houses the Intergenerational Learning Center, a preschool where children and seniors have the chance to bond.
Established in 1991, the ILC's purpose is to allow kids to learn about acceptance while also being nurtured. It also aims to help seniors develop a greater sense of self-worth and foster social interactions. Babies to pre-kindergarten-aged children attend art and music classes, as well as story and exercise time with the seniors.
6The documentary that follows teens as they teach seniors to use the Internet
Cyber Seniors follows a group of senior citizens, aged between 76 and 93, as they discover the world of the Internet through the guidance of teenage mentors.
The documentary, directed by Saffron Cassaday, was inspired by a campaign set up by her sisters, Macaulee and Kasha, in 2009. The pair began recruiting friends to visit retirement homes twice a week to teach elderly residents how to use the Internet after witnessing first-hand how it had transformed their grandparents' lives. The group featured in the film all had different interests, with some eager to use Facebook to see photos of their grandchildren and others wanting to learn how to cook or find inspiration for traveling.
7The Brazilian kids that are learning English through webcam chats with retired Americans
A Brazilian language school is helping students perfect their English by forming heartwarming bonds with elderly Americans.
An advertisment for CNA's "Speaking Exchange" shows the unlikely friendships between young Brazilians and senior Americans, many of who live lonely lives in retirement homes. (Students are paired up with elderly residents of the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago.) They then have conversations via webcam about their lives, families, and future hopes, developing strong bonds in the process.
8The bride who had her wedding in a nursing home
At 31-years-old, Miriam Reeves might be the youngest person ever to get married in a nursing home. She and her fiancé, Mark Davis, had every intention of tying the knot in their local church until Alzheimer's disrupted their plans.
Miriam's father, Bernard, has been living with an Alzheimer's since 2006. A former Vietnam veteran and police chaplain, Bernard's condition eventually reached the point where he could no longer take care of himself, so his family moved him to the Foundation Park Alzheimer's Care Center in Toledo, Ohio.
While planning for her special day, Miriam was consumed with the fear that Bernard would wander off and become lost. So, she and Mark made a decision — if Bernard couldn't come to the church, then they would bring their nuptials to him.
Miriam's selfless decision to accommodate her father's condition aligns with one of the foundational principles of caring for a person with dementia — entering their world.