MACON, Ga. — Older folks at Navicent Health's Carlyle Place learn a thing or two about technology. Their teachers are actually their neighbors, too.
Carlyle Place resident Edith Bennett says, "When you're around elderly people all the time, it's refreshing to have some young faces."
At the start of the school year, two Mercer University students moved into the senior living community, one of them being Elise Colquitt. She says, "It's definitely different than living with people your own age or even living with your own family."
It's an inter-generational housing program meant to form relationships between younger and older generations.
Ava Nguyen also joined the program. She says, "Being here and having so many people that love me and support me, and just remind me that I'm loved, is really encouraging, and the relationships I form here are really meaningful."
Many people at Carlyle Place enjoy the young faces around home.
Another resident, Vince Coughlyn, says, "We have no grandchildren, and they fill the void that we would otherwise have. Everybody here talks about their children and their grandchildren."
While the program is meant to combat loneliness and health-related issues in senior citizens, the younger students see an impact in their own lives.
"I never would've formed the relationships that I have here, so I think that I've really learned how to just get to communicate with people that are different than me, and I've grown out of my shell a little bit," says Elise.
The program was created by two 2019 Mercer graduates. It was modeled after a program in the Netherlands. Mercer says only a handful of colleges and universities have programs like it.
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