What Happens When a Nursing Home and a Day Care Center Share a Roof?

When can a 5-year-old learn from a 95-year old? At Seattle’s Providence Mount St. Vincent nursing home, that question is answered daily. That’s because “The Mount” also houses a child care center that accommodates 125 children, and the full cycle of life on display is magic. Charlene Boyd, Administrator of Providence Mount St. Vincent, said they wanted to create a place for people to come to live, not to die. So, in 1991, Boyd and other administrators added a high-quality preschool to the nursing home and created an intergenerational learning center — a community for the very old and the very young. It’s not a lifelong relationship, but just for that moment in time, they’re both enjoying each other’s company and getting something out of their relationship. We all have common needs to be recognized and to be loved, and the children bring life, vibrancy and normalcy. Each of the 6 classrooms has at least 3 visits a week. "Boredom and loneliness plague older adults, and when the residents hear the sound of the kids coming down the hall, it’s as though sunlight just came through the window," said Boyd. Child care at The Mount is competitively priced with similar high quality preschools in the area, and there are currently 400 families on the waiting list.