Columbia to Add Intergenerational Day Care

1 decade 6 months 4 weeks ago February 28, 2006 Feb 28, 2006 Tuesday, February 28 2006 Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:50:08 PM CST in News

Eunice and Berl Gerdes love their time at the Candlelight Lodge.

"I don't have grandchildren of my own around," said Eunice.

The lodge has a program for seniors to interact with students from Columbia Catholic School.

"It keeps you young, said Berl. "It keeps you on your toes."

Now, the Boone County Health Center will take this intergeneration idea to another level. The Boone Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a plan to open the first intergenerational adult daycare program in Columbia.

The foundation will build the 17,000-square foot facility at the intersection of William and Walnut.

"To make it meaningful for both people, it has to be structured," said project coordinator Dick Hessler. "It has to be done by people who do that curriculum and understand the world of frail, older people and world of children."

Hessler says the program will include structured sessions between seniors and children at least eight times a day.

The center will serve about 60 adults and 104 children. Hessler says it's a step in the right direction as Columbia tries to better serve its growing senior population.

Project organizers will hold a symposium this Friday at Stephens College.

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