FAIRBORN — Patriot Ridge Community hosted children age 5 and older at Camp Ageless Aug. 4.
Camp Ageless is a one-day, annual inter-generational activity at Patriot Ridge, 789 Stoneybrook Trail, a United Church Homes senior living community in Beavercreek. At Camp Ageless, Patriot Ridge residents and children get together for fun camp activities hosted by leaders in the community. Activities include making crafts, playing bingo and sitting by a camp fire. The older adults and children also eat lunch together.
“Our residents love it,” Patriot Ridge Administrator Stacie Ward said. “It feels like it’s Thanksgiving. Kids are usually around on Thanksgiving. A home has children in it most of the time and when people come over it feels more like it’s a home.”
Camp Ageless began three years ago. The focus of the event is to make youth feel safe and comfortable interacting with older adults, Ward said.
She said the activity is a boon for resident and staff morale. The activities also bring back a lot of memories for residents, Ward added.
Hundreds of mixed-aged programs and activities like Camp Ageless exist nationwide, said Generations United Executive Director Donna Butts.
Butts said inter-generational programs are increasing due in part to the rising number of older adults.
“People are living longer and they’re also living healthier. (Older adults are) going to continue to do that and they want to give back,” Butts said.
Butts said the programs and activities are a win-win when relationships are formed between older adults and youth.
She said there are psychological benefits for older adults who feel more optimistic about the future and feel they have a “reason to get out of bed.”
“Young people, they learn not to fear their own aging. They’re not put off by seeing older people. They’re not put off by seeing wheelchairs, walkers or someone with a cane,” Butts said.
Abegayle and Gabrielle Florence of Fairborn said they loved attending Camp Ageless last year.
They said they brought the residents sugar cookies, made tie-dye shirts, planted flowers, walked with the residents and pushed some residents in their wheelchairs.
“It was cool,” said 16-year-old Abegayle. “Almost all of them love it.”
The girls also attended the event last week.
“They are just a lot of fun to talk to and hang out with,” Gabrielle said.
“Camp Ageless shows that age doesn’t matter,” Ward said. “It’s so fun to watch the interaction between the two because in some cases the resident is the teacher and mentor and in other cases the kids teach and mentor our residents. To watch the interaction is just amazing.”