Residents of a Sunrise Senior Living community in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, have been spending their free time visiting children at a local school for story time. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the seniors visit preschool students and read to them once a week as part of the Willow Grove Champions Enrichment Program.
"The kids love it," Stephanie Schalk, a preschool teacher at Champions, told the news source. "Some of them would get upset because they thought the other children's grandparents were coming to read and they wanted to know when their grandparents were coming."
The older women benefit from the visits just as much as the children do, according to Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, a gerontologist from Northeastern Illinois University. She explained a child's view of aging greatly benefits seniors and can give them a more positive outlook on life, the news source reports. The weekly activity is a mood booster for the women who participate, which allows them to give back to their community and helps stave off depression.
As adults age, their risk of developing depression increases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but working with children and staying active can help older adults maintain their mental well-being.