The Lutheran Home at Kane (PA) Receives Generations United’s Intergenerational Shared Site Award

Posted: October 16, 2011

The Generations United (GU) Intergenerational Shared Site Award honors an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions to uniting the generations through intergenerational shared sites (also know as age-integrated facilities). The 2011 award winner, is the Lutheran Home at Kane, PA.

It’s probably safe to say that when the Lutheran Home at Kane (PA) opened its doors in 1966, no one imagined that one day children would share the premises.
Yet today, 120 elderly residents of the Lutheran Home – including those with dementia and other medical or social needs – not only share their facility with kids, they love doing it. Each day, local parents bring their babies and toddlers to the facility to take part in K.I.D.S. (Kane Intergenerational Day Care Services). While there, the youngsters can visit with their elderly neighbors to make crafts, exercise, read stories, or just enjoy each other’s company.

In the afternoon, 20 school-aged children arrive at the center for K.A.S.P. (Kane After School Program). At the K.A.S.P. learning center, seniors help the kids with school assignments or take part in fun activities that promote wellness and fitness.

The Lutheran Home at Kane takes intergenerational programming several steps further. It works with the local high school to develop a cooperative program to train and employ certified nursing home assistants. In addition, the home serves as a clinical worksite for students from area colleges and universities who are considering a career in health or care giving.

So where is this progressive facility located? Not in a large, urban area as you might suppose. Kane is a community of approximately 5,000 people located in northwestern Pennsylvania. Considering the size of the community and the size of the Lutheran Home, opening the facility to intergenerational programs was a bit risky. Would the home’s residents want young children around? Would parents feel comfortable bringing their children to a place originally geared for the needs of elderly individuals?

Like so many risks, it works. It’s a smart use of scarce resources and a wonderful way to build new and lasting bonds between generations.