When Molly McDonough was planning the ways she'd spend her time before her senior year of study at Drake University in Des Moines, moving into a Community for Healthy Living where other residents are at least three times her age was not on her list.
But last week, she settled her belongings — and her cats, Almond and Frank -- into Wesley Acres, where she’ll spend the summer and the fall semester as part of an immersive intergenerational experience designed to benefit her as well as the community’s hundreds of residents.
“Studies have shown that spending time with people of all ages is beneficial to everyone, and for older adults, especially, interacting consistently with people who are younger can help them live more meaningful — and actually longer — lives,” Damon Buskohl, executive director of Wesley Acres, says. “We’re thrilled to have Molly here as part of the Wesley Acres family.”
In conjunction with a celebration of WesleyLife’s 75th year as well as a $25 million redevelopment of Wesley Acres to enhance its connection to the Des Moines community, the organization leveraged its longtime relationship with Drake to initiate the pilot intergenerational project.
University leaders were asked to identify a student who would appreciate free room and board the summer and fall semester, but who would also want to become a contributing member of the community.
“I’m sure I’m in for a lot of fun and I hope to make a lot of friends there. I’m also hoping to spread the word that younger and older people are just not that different from one another.”
Post Topic(s): INTERGENERATIONAL EXPERIENCE