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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"

34 comments

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Photo of Carmen Escano
Team

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.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great builds and learnings from the field, Carmen.

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DeletedUser

Hi Yap & Hi everyone,

The core of the idea seems very useful and I want to draw a picture of my two aunts who take care of their grandchildren. Their story may supply an insight from another perspective related to this concept.

Me and my family, we are living in Istanbul/ Turkey, where people work for long hours and waste so much time on traffic. This means most of the parents can't take care of their children by themselves, here. Even though they can afford a babysitter or a helper; most of them prefer their mothers and fathers to raise up their children - also I should note that people I know who are in their 60's-70's are really energetic and they are still passionate about life.

Aunt Nesrin:

Nesrin is 66 years old and she helps her doughter to raise up her 3 years old son Demir. Last year, Nesrin was able to go to swim and do pilates in addition to carrying her responsibilities; because a helper was supporting her by sharing some of the house works. After helper had leaved and Demir started to go to a baby day care center -just from 08:00 to 12:00, she gave a break to do sports; because somehow the number of her responsibilities increased.

Aunt Nermin:

Nermin is 63 years old and she raised up her granddoughter Azra. Nermin was quite busy with Azra when she was a baby. Now, Azra is 8 years old and how they spend their time is quite changed: Nermin goes to sewing and embroidery courses in addition to carrying house works and Azra plays instrument, goes to school. They are still close friends, some nights Azra stays at Nermin and they sleep together :)

So, my aunts are willing to take care of both themselves and their grandchildren; while they are willing to spend time on other things such as doing sport, sewing, meeting with friends etc. On the other hand, with respect to their age, it is hard for them to synchronize all of these activities without a support. To sum up, regarding my aunts' context, this center can involve options such as scheduled courses and activities for healthy grandparents who come with their grandchildren just for three days in a week or a specific period something like that. No need to cook, no need to wash dish, no need to feel responsible etc. - just enjoy themselves while they are sharing environment with their grandchildren.

Apart from these examples; glass separators would be nice rather than opaque walls to turn a flat into a space with many rooms: glass can absorb sound while it keeps everything is visible. Besides, it may turn out to something bad, cause I have no idea about glass surfaced interior's cost or safety.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great reflections and insights from your family, Elif!

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Team

DeletedUser

Thanks for the real life examples, Eliff! :)

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Photo of Mel Day
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i was wondering the same thing about transparent walls eliff - thinking about even one glass wall as a way for the older adults with more fragile immune systems to feel more integrated and a part of things. the kids could also have important discussions with their teachers about aging and well being as part of their curriculum. this would help prepare them for a variety of interactions and would also help to encourage healthy discussions on aging, well being, and empathy right from the beginning...

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DeletedUser

Do check out this for the different kinds of eldercare facilities and stuff..
https://www.silverpages.sg/

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Thanks Xiu Jing for the heads up! :)

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DeletedUser

Okay - it doesn't seem like I can upload any photos but I have sent Jia Qing a photo of Onemap.sg If you are interested in creating Change in Singapore, please check out www.onemap.sg

It allows you to overlay different information on ONE map. AND you can overlay information of eldercare and Childcare! viola! then you can see what partnerships to be formed!

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Photo of Carmen Escano
Team

Thank you Xiu Jing! this is very useful!

Spam
Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Thought you might like to check out the feedback for your concept in the comments section on the Mayo Clinic blog: http://blog.centerforinnovation.mayo.edu/2013/08/14/openideo-concepts-coming-to-life-early-testing-the-with-me-games/
"Loads of brilliant ideas... my favourite has to be the integration of elderly day care centres with children care centres. It would allow children to interact with those who have lived there life’s and also help them build a respect for the elderly community which I feel is something missing from kids these days."

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DeletedUser

Another idea to explore is accreditation for the elderly to increase their legitimacy and skill sets. In this case it might be important to rope in seniors who are still of able body and able mind that are just into retirement. This way active ageing and well-being can be nurtured from an earlier age, potentially reaping more benefits over the long term. In fact this might be possibly integrated with eldercare in the homes? Perhaps then they can get discounted for any medical or care services in the future (somewhat like buying an insurance and paying premiums through service and volunteerism)

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DeletedUser

And the accreditation could be split into different levels too, in order to cater to the different willingness and ability of the elderly to commit to lessons. :)

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Photo of Carmen Escano
Team

It could be also a points-ranking based on the skills and on the rewards that the elderly get from the "kids evaluation". This will help to keep track of the elderly's abilities and also it will help to build trust with the parents.

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Team

DeletedUser

I like the idea of people benefiting from providing service to others. It sounds to me like there might be different levels of function that we are identifying - there is a big space between early retirement, looking for new experiences, still living independently and people living in nursing homes, needing lots of care and supervision. I think that maybe one could help facilitate the other in the classroom, like if there were more able bodied elders around, it would be easier for elders who need more help to interact productively with children.

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DeletedUser

I think this could be turned into a cycle: by getting the elderly who are still fit and passionate to be caretakers for the young kids, they will form bonds over the time they spent together. When these elderly are no longer in their best health, we can inform the kids (or their parents) about their 'grandpas/grandmas' condition, and hopefully these kids (who have grown up by then) would pay a visit and spend some time to care for the elderly who have cared for them previously.

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DeletedUser

Hello Yap,

One quick question: Younger children, especially in childcare scenarios tend to get ill frequently, and with many elderly people that live in adult care situations with comprised immune systems, how would this concept answer the potential problems of preventing the transmission of disease?

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Team

DeletedUser

Hi Brett, yes that is definitely a valid concern! I don't have an answer for now, guess I would have to interview some medical personnel to understand more! Thanks for raising it! :)

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Photo of Mel Day
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yes, i love this concept and wondered the same thing. my son went to a montessori school housed in a nursing home in palo alto—one of the reasons we were drawn to this pre-school in the first place. this turned out to have many valuable intergenerational benefits although not as much direct interaction as we would have like due to this concern about the health challenges and compromised immune systems of elderly people. however, i think with a bit of extra monitoring, hand washing and well designed interactive spaces, i'm not sure this needs to be such a show-stopper. we visited some of the elderly residents on our own after school. the mutual benefits were huge.

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DeletedUser

A physical meet up with Jia Qing today yielded the idea that in the context of Singapore, where he is located, nursing home residents had a wide variety of ailments. It would be important to assess the mental and physical fitness of the both the elderly and the children so as to prevent any transmission of illnesses and other avoidable mishaps. For example my grandfather was put in a nursing home due to his worsening dementia that resulted in very erratic behavior. Unless we can ensure a safe environment for both the children and the elderly, I think that trust in both parties safety will be a challenge moving forward.

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DeletedUser

I used to work in a nursing home and I saw many people who were typically agitated or erratic become very calm when children and animals came to visit. I think with cautious and informed supervision, some people with dementia could interact with children in a way that is beneficial to both and it could be an amazing lesson in empathy for children.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great insights from your personal experiences, Colleen.

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Photo of An Old Friend
Team

You could probably pretty easily set up some test scenarios at retirement communities and nursing homes. They are constantly looking for people to come and spend time with patients and to keep them active.
There would be limitations around how able bodied the elderly would be, particularly with aforementioned compromised immune systems and brittle bones. However, if the children were older, say 6 or 7, there would be more flexibility in interaction. There would also be the ability to collaborate on more activities, like puzzles/crafts/knitting/BINGO. etc etc.

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Team

DeletedUser

I agree that 6-7 year olds would be a great age to start working out the details of how to bring children and the elderly together, but I would also encourage including younger children eventually as well. 3-6 year olds can be incredibly empathic and when given the right kind of instruction, they can be very mindful of the needs of others. Plus, there is so much joy in just being with children that age, I think it could bring a lot of comfort.

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Team

DeletedUser

hey jiaqing, great concept :)

You would like to check out how Kotoen Facility does this. They do an amazing job! It is definitely possible. check out this website: http://word.world-citizenship.org/wp-archive/234

I am looking into building a multi-generational platform in Singapore. A possibility would be to work with the Family Service Centers or Community Centres to create this platform. Drop me a text if you are interested ;)

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DeletedUser

Xiu Jing, how much research have you done into the existing avenues for collaboration in Singapore? If you have more knowledge do share!

One idea being thrown around was the reaching out to Member of Parliaments to see what avenue was the best for a test run. Also, The childcare centres run by the PA at the void decks would be a good way to test this, with the elderly being directly from the surrounding blocks as well. Furthermore, there might be a slot after pre-school ends for this interaction to happen. Parent could then just opt to fetch their children later, giving them more flexibility.

This definitely will need some ground work. I think we're trying to set up this fact gathering exercise. Jia Qing correct me if I'm wrong!

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DeletedUser

Hi Yap,

What a great idea. I think that the seniors and children doing arts and crafts and the seniors passing their wisdom and skills s to the children would be invaluable to both.

In terms of space, one thought that comes to mind is that not all seniors want to have small children moving about them all the time. This would be an argument for having them in separate buildings that stand next to each other. That way, seniors can retreat when they need rest.

Best of luck!
Liana

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DeletedUser

You might contact the care facility in Arizona, the Beautitudes, which was mentioned among the inspirations: http://www.openideo.com/open/mayo-clinic/inspiration/beatitudes-person-centered-advanced-dementia-care/

They have had a preschool on their campus, Agelink, for 16 years for the purpose of creating intergenerational relationships. Residents of he Beatitudes could volunteer in classrooms regularly and the children made weekly visits to the main campus for activities with residents who are less mobile.

http://www.beatitudesagelink.org/care-and-education/linking-generations/

Sadly, they are closing their doors as of July 15, solely for financial reasons. Here are some very sweet pictures from the flyer for their farewell celebration which underline the possibilities in your concept: http://www.beatitudesagelink.org/files/6813/7114/0389/Farewell-Flyer.pdf

I'm sure despite closing their doors, they have valuable insight into the benefits and challenges of creating a multigenerational community.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Nice idea Yap. I like how you've been thinking of different ways to implement the idea. I also like the prototyping part: it'd be great if you could do this. You could also try to see if you could contact a nursery to see if some grandparents could come and spend a few hours a day to help (reading stories, singing songs, etc.). Another interesting option would be to see if you could twin an elderly day-care center and a children day care for a day.

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DeletedUser

Thanks for the ideas on enhancing the prototype and pilot, both seem very worthy to test out!

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Yap, you might want to check Vikram's idea: http://www.openideo.com/open/mayo-clinic/ideas/sanskaara-2013-childcare-center-run-wholly-by-the-elderly/
and build upon it.
I'm sure there is a lot for you to learn from his experience.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great thought about a small pilot, Yap! Let us know how things go. You might also like to interview a few seniors + parents of grandchildren to try and gain insights around the opportunities, aspirations, fears and barriers on something like this – to help fine tune your idea and iterate for greater impact. Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO!

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DeletedUser

Alright sure, I would! Thank you for the advice!

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Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Nice one, Yap. Tip: as your thinking around this idea grows, you can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.