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Integrate elderly day-care centers with children care centers

Integration could allow for simultaneous healthcare provision, greater cross-generational interaction and two way benefits for both the elderly and children.

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Written by DeletedUser

Often, elderly care facilities and child care centers are mutually exclusive, resulting in little interaction between the 2 generations housed in these different facilities. Grandparents who stay at home to care for grandchildren, on the other hand, are faced with little time to mingle with their peers. Their children are also posed a hard choice with their limited time, of either visiting their parents in elderly day care centers, or their own children in child care centers during limited times like lunchtimes. 
Integrating elderly day-care centers with baby care centers could solve all the above mentioned problems: grandparents stay with their grandchildren and other children; they could form community interest groups and meaningful relationships with their peers in these centers; working adults could visit and fetch their parents and own children at the same time since they are housed in the same center. In addition, operational costs are lowered since less staff are needed to care for the babies who are cared for by grandparents while medical personnel stationed could cater to both the children and the elderly. But of course, seniors without grandchildren staying in the facility(and vice versa) are welcome too. The facility could be designed such that the elderly and children have separate buildings for their own activities and rest when needed, but a big central space joining the two buildings could be used for interaction and mutual care.
In the facilities, the elderly could also take up courses on early childhood psychology to get themselves accredited and skilled in interacting better with the children. The accreditation would also provide parents with more trust and ease with putting their child at these facilities. Also, the accreditation could be in various levels, to cater to the different willingness and ability of the elderly to commit to the courses.
As for the profile of the seniors housed in the day care centers, fit and healthy seniors would be preferred over those with serious medical conditions, so as to allow for easier interaction with the children. Seniors with illnesses also often have weaker immune systems and are thus more susceptible to diseases which might spread in such a facility where medical care is not the main priority. It would be perfect if a few retired teachers could be within the mix of seniors in the facility, such that they could share their experiences in developing children with the others.
If possible, seniors who choose to take up responsibilities and specific roles in the care for the children could enjoy significant rebates in their cost of being housed in the facility too.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

A social enterprise could be set-up to built such facilities throughout the world.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?

Governments could provide grants for the setting up of these centers since it directly addresses the problem of an aging population faced by many developed countries. Working adults would be more motivated to have children when they know their children would be placed in good hands of their own parents, and when childcare costs are lower. Businesses could come in to provide for the needs of interest groups that the elderly form in these centers. Healthcare providers could train staff to provide care simultaneously to the elderly and babies in an efficient manner. Social enterprises could be set-up to further promote and implement this idea.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

I might approach an elderly day-care center and try asking for permission to allow the elderly there to bring their grandchildren over for a week as a pilot. Childcare centers also often face the problem of parents picking up their children late, inconveniencing the caregivers in the center. Seniors from the neighborhood and nearby day care centers could be brought over to care for the children whose parents are late to pick them up, and the results of the interaction could be analysed.
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Team (4)

Anne-Laure's profile
Anne-Laure Fayard

Role added on team:

"Designing of prototypes and pilot projects to test the idea on the ground."

Carmen's profile
Carmen Escano

Role added on team:

"Physical meet up to discuss"

Luciano's profile
Luciano Oviedo

Role added on team:

"Highlighted an alternative way of carrying out the idea, in the presence of potential obstacles like the children or elderly being a nuisance to each other's daily activities."

Mel's profile
Mel Day

Role added on team:

"Contributing perspectives from real-life experiences"


Join the conversation:

Photo of Carmen Escano

Last Saturday I headed off for visiting a child care centres.
I got the chance to talk with the manager and I have explained to her the idea that we would like to implement.
The feedback that I've got from her is mainly the space that is needed. Based on her experience, merging the child care and elderly care must be done in two levels, she was concern that if they're in the same level the kids are sometimes running uncontrolled so they might accidentally hurt elderly that have restricted mobility.
Something that they are currently doing is allowing the grandparents to volunteer and come over the child care Center to do some crafting activities with the kids, or any other teaching activity. She said that so far is a great experience for both, grandparents and kids!

Another idea that I had over the weekend is that due to the constraints of having elderly with low mobility and fragile in terms of health issues, we can propose a "walk in daycare".
In this daycare, both kids and seniors come every morning to spend the day in. The seniors will spend the morning doing exercise in a special gym meant for rehabilitation or just for fitness activities. In the meanwhile, the kids would have the lessons with their teachers.
In the afternoon, the seniors will spend time with the kids, in a specific common area doing craft activities, storytelling, etc. cross generation time for all. When 5pm hits, the parents would come to pick the kids or even the grandpas will take them to home.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great builds and learnings from the field, Carmen.

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