Hope Meadows residents at a community meeting.Photo credit: Judy Griesdieck
The presence of three or more generations is critical to a GHC’s purpose. Each generation has a different world view that provides a unique perspective on people and problems.
In a GHC, children bring joy and meaning to the daily life of older adults, and parents allow the older adults to become “grandparents” to the children, while also supporting one another.
It is people of multiple generations, and the cumulative effects arising from complex intergenerational relationships and engagement, that lead to the establishment of a culture of effective care and mutual concern which becomes the bedrock of a strong, healthy GHC.
Residents enjoy each others’ company, and teach themselves how to provide support based on each person’s needs and circumstances and on what he or she brings into the community from previous experiences. What one generation sees as a concern, another may recognize as an unimportant idiosyncrasy or passing phase.
We have come to believe that the energy, care, and resilience brought to people’s lives by multiple generations is necessary for a community to thrive. To illustrate this, listen to the voices of residents:
Debbie (a parent):
It’s just like we are all one big family. And they talk about the seniors being grandparents for the kids, but they have filled a void in my life, so they not only help the kids, you know, they are there for all of us.
Shirley (a parent) :
To all Hope Parents and Grandparents:
I would like to thank you all for the help and support which you have given to me and my family in the two years that we have been living here. A special thanks to Helen and Pat Hall for being there when I needed a friend, for standing by us through the adoption of Baron, being grandparents for our other kids, and watching them when I needed a sitter or just some time to myself.
Thanks to Mr. Lee [a GHC grandparent] for being someone special to Baron, to Mr. Hal [a GHC grandparent] for being there for Jackson, and to Marie, Jeanette, and Joyce [other parents in the neighborhood] for all the help and support you have given me and for all the prayers you have sent up for me and my family. You are very special friends!
Shana (a young teenager, who wrote the following poem) :
Never Too Old
Never too old to have a birthday
Never too old to have a snack
Never too old to play and
Never too old to carry a backpack!