At Lima Estates in Media, Pennsylvania, high school and college students are hired to work the dining room.
Rae Foley is a resident at Lima Estates.
She says, "Having young people around when you live in a retirement community is probably one of the best things that happens."
The young people receive sensitivity training to help them better relate to the challenges of aging.
Nick McCusker, a student at Sun Valley H.S. said, "At first I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to just come in and do what I have to do,' but you really get to know the people."
Lima Estates resident Susan Fischer said, "They make you feel that you're a part of their life. They don't look down upon the fact that we might be a little older."
In fact, the young people grow so close to the seniors that they often invite them to games, graduations, even their weddings.
Siera Piccari is the Food Supervisor.
She said, "I love it. It's awesome. They're always asking, 'how's school going, how are your grades?' It's like my grandmom."
Meghan McGeoy, Executive Director of Lima Estates said, "It's social and it's all about relationships. And they really feed off one another, and the residents feel it. It's a family."
"It's like having another grandmother or grandfather, you have more than one, they look out for you," said Jason Shropshire, Server/Student at Delaware CCC.
Cecilia Stevenson, a resident said, "They think of us as grandparents. We think of them as grand kids. I have a young man who calls me 'grand-mom.'
The students are paid and also get college scholarship vouchers along with a daily living lesson in history.
Dennis Napier, the Director of Culinary and Nutritional Services, Lima Estates said, "Most likely, no matter what they're going to school for - there's somebody here who did it for 50 years. And they can be something of a mentor."
"They've been in the military, they've been all around the world, places I want to go," said Jason.
For both the seniors and the students, it's a win.
Nick added, "They learn new things from us and we learn new things from them."
Art of Aging: Intergenerational Bonding (6abc Action News)
February 18, 2016
Bridging the gap between generations can be a challenge. But there are some folks, old and young, who have forged some very close bonds.