Burnaby retirement residence to offer intergenerational programs

Whether it’s a luxury retirement condo development that allows family members of all ages to live side-by-side or a retirement residence that houses a kindergarten classroom, intergenerational living is one of the hottest buzzwords in the retirement living industry. And Derby Manor, a new affordable 55+ community in Burnaby run by a non-profit society, is planning to incorporate the philosophy into many of its programs.

Numerous studies locally and abroad have found seniors suffering from loneliness and isolation experience improved physical and mental health when they spend time in the company of youngsters on a regular basis. And young people reap the benefits of being supported with their activities such as schoolwork and hearing the wisdom shared by these elders.

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Adele Fussi, Derby Manor’s general manager, shares a touching story that has inspired the residence to implement intergenerational programs into its curriculum of activities. “A choir from Caribou Hill highschool came to perform at the residence and afterwards they had a chance to chat with the seniors. We thought they would be pretty bored but when they went back to school they asked their teachers if they could come back every week!”

This experience inspired the residence to create a buddy system where a senior is partnered up with a student. Youngsters can teach the older folks such things as computer skills while the students will learn such qualities as patience, respect and compassion. “We’re hoping this [program] will happen by May 2018,” Fussi says.

There is also talk of eventually converting the large multipurpose room at the expansive and brightly decorated residence into an after-school daycare. “It’s something I would love to bring into this, it brightens up everybody,” says Fussi.

Suites at Derby Manor are available for $2,450 monthly (including 2 meals, housekeeping and laundry services). For more information visit derbymanor.ca

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