“Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.” ~ Margaret Mead
Nationally, the senior population is expected to grow significantly in coming years, especially as the baby boomer generation ages. In fact, the senior population in 2030 is expected to be twice as large as in 2000, growing from 35 million to 72 million, and representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population (Older Americans 2010). While the current population of 65 plus in Somerville hovers near 10 percent, the boomer cohort constitutes about 20 percent of the local population. As this group ages, it is important for the City to prepare for their changing needs, and ensure that they remain a part of a diverse, dynamic, and inclusive Somerville.
In 2000, fewer than 5% of Somerville’s senior population reported living in group quarters (nursing homes or assisted-living facilities such as Little Sisters of the Poor or the Somerville Home .The remainder of the senior population lives in households.
43 % of older adults experience social isolation which is closely correlated with loneliness and depression as well as mental and physical decline.
We try to change this reality. But what can the every young and very old offer each other if given the chance???
This interaction benefits both the children and the elderly. The elderly get a renewed sense of self-worth and the joy and children. The excitement of seeing the world through younger eyes can get older adults ‘up and doing,’ reducing depression, relieving boredom and improving health.
The children become more accepting of people with disabilities, learn about the aging process and get unconditional love from the doting residents. They also learn that sometimes, adults need help too.
The past 3 years we have a great experience visiting (sing, play, promoting picnics, working together) the Little Sisters of the Somerville Home. We included in our curriculum once a month visit the elderly ones.