Five days a week at Seattle’s Providence Mount St. Vincent care center, the very young and the very old come together for music, art, and friendship. The care center, known familiarly as “the Mount,” is home to 400 older adults and others who need assistance. It’s also the site of the Intergenerational Learning Center, a community daycare program with a mission to teach children about aging, show them what it’s like to live with disabilities, and give them opportunities to “receive and give unconditional and unbounded love.” 

Each visit from the children is a highlight of the day for many of the Mount’s residents. It’s also a carefully considered part of their care. Participating in story time, music, and art projects with the kids can help reduce residents’ loneliness and anxiety, boost their self-worth, and show them that they’re still important.

Employees at the Mount first conceived of the program 20 years ago, and director Charlene Boyd helped make it a reality. The benefits really do go both ways, she told The National.

The babies and toddlers “have no particular agenda,” Boyd says. They simply live in the moment and inspire their older friends to do the same. “That present perfect is what we see every day.”