Partnership Promotes American Studies and Enriches Senior Memory Programs
The Buckingham, a premier senior living community, is partnering with Joy Center School and Orphanage, a nonprofit organization in Kenya, to collaborate on a virtual Kenyan and American language distance learning class with memory care residents. Tonia Gonzales, memory care senior program coordinator at The Buckingham, leads the interactive course every other Tuesday, which places The Buckingham residents as the Kenyan students’ virtual educators, teaching American life, culture and the English language and vice versa.
“This is a unique and meaningful activity that our residents in memory care enjoy so much,” said Gonzales. “The program has been extremely successful, and we can see the joy in the residents’ eyes when we have our bi-weekly meetings. On top of communicating with the children via Zoom, we also use the platform iN2L. This program brings people together, connecting seniors with interests that fulfill them and enables them to share conversations and experiences.”
The course curriculum relies on conversation so that students can practice dictation and pronunciation of the English language. The Buckingham residents serve as the student’s virtual tutors from oceans away. As they recite a sentence, the students will repeat back, transcribe and study their discoveries. With each session, the two groups become more attuned to each other’s culture and way of life, eventually reaching the point where the two groups can engage in conversation.
“Intergenerational activities are meaningful for all seniors but especially those with cognitive decline,” said Gonzales. “The program helps increase older adults’ sense of belonging, self-esteem, and well-being, while also improving social and emotional skills of children and youth participants. We are honored to offer these types of programs for our residents at The Buckingham.”
Joy Center School and Orphanageis in the rural farming community Ochuna, in Migori County, Kenya, and was founded by Gideon Saulo in 2010. Saulo was born and raised in Ochuna Village and lost his father in second grade. Saulo and his mother suffered and no longer had the funds for him to attend school. His mother kept them afloat by selling farm grain in the village market and with time, she was able to raise Saulo’s school tuition for him to return.
“The experience of losing my father and almost my education deeply influenced my life commitment to helping orphans receive a good education, even if they don’t have money for tuition,” said Saulo. “Partnering with organizations and companies like The Buckingham truly make an impact on the lives of the children. It is something they look forward to, and we enjoy seeing the influence the children have on the seniors. We look forward to expanding and growing our partnership with The Buckingham and cannot thank the community enough for allowing this meaningful activity to happen.” To learn more about this program or other specialized programs for memory support at The Buckingham, call us for a personal appointment and tour at (713) 730-2633.