Breaking barriers, building relationships

Through the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program, Hebrew SeniorLife unites generations, bringing together senior residents and students from the community to forge impactful, meaningful relationships. Operating across the spectrum of care with a variety of partners and schools, our programming is uniquely designed to support the needs of old and young alike: seniors find a strong sense of purpose and companionship through engagement with the students, who learn the value of service while gaining a deeper understanding of the rich lives and experiences of older adults.

Hebrew SeniorLife has been recognized for the quality of our multigenerational programs, and we have been awarded grants to expand our offerings throughout our campuses. By breaking barriers between young and old, Hebrew SeniorLife is fostering new frontiers in compassionate, world-class care while enhancing the lives of all participants.

Our innovative multigenerational programming includes the following partnerships:

NewBridge on the Charles

  • Making Memories – weekly one-on-one visits between middle school students from the neighboring Rashi School and residents in memory care.
  • Rashi School Grade 5 Science Fair – independent living residents provide mentorship to student participants.
  • Shabbat Services – led by third, fourth- and fifth-grade Rashi students with Israeli dance performances by elementary and middle schoolers.
  • Dedham Public Schools – high school students meet with seniors weekly, providing companionship, conversation and technology support.
  • Service Programs – With area private schools and synagogues, youth participate in various 1-day volunteer experiences bringing vibrancy to the community and often leading to more sustained engagement.

Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale

  • Alzheimer Buddies – weekly one-on-one visits between Harvard students and dementia patients, with each student engaging the same senior throughout the school year.
  • Brandeis Russian Connection – profiles created by Brandeis University students of Russian-speaking seniors, capturing their personal stories to be shared with the community.
  • Preschool Programs – Willow Path Preschool, Little Voice and Music Together bring the youngest and oldest community members together for music, reading, art projects, and heart-warming interaction.
  • Wheelock College Interns - Students come regularly throughout each semester to meet with seniors and lead group programs.
  • Maimonides School – students develop activity groups, transport seniors, support life enhancement programs, and build relationships.

Simon C. Fireman Community

  • Curry College Nursing Program – A multigenerational class called “The Nursing Care of Older Adults” has become a national model for nurse training and multigenerational innovation.
  • Computer lab assistance – provided for residents by Randolph Public School students on a biweekly basis.
  • Service Programs – with Milton Academy, Noble and Greenough and other schools include weekly student lunch visits, and annual community service program days on site, and a variety of other special programs.
  • Student Talent Showcase – song, dance, and theater performances by students from Fontbonne Academy, Sharon High School, Curry College, and other local schools.

Center Communities of Brookline

  • SHOP (Students Helping Older People) – Brookline High School student program that provides grocery shopping and friendly visits for residents.
  • Senior-Senior Prom – pre-prom program by Brookline High School students demonstrating how dance has evolved across generations; students then host an annual prom, providing manicures, origami corsages, and personalized music lists.
  • Adopt a Bubbe – monthly dinners with Maimonides High School students and residents
  • Performances – by acapella groups and musicians from the New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, From the Top, and individual youth performers.
  • Simmons College Nursing Program – weekly visits from students who run community health clinics, share meals with residents, and participate in activities throughout the academic year.

Jack Satter House

  • Jewish holiday programs – run by middle-schoolers at Cohen-Hillel Academy.
  • Garfield Elementary School – residents visit students to read, discuss, and create projects based on books central to the Common Core curriculum.
  • Whelan Elementary School – weekly pen pal exchanges between third-graders and residents, culminate in an end-of-school-year celebration and 5th grade students participate in an 8-week guided interactive program with residents at the school

Orchard Cove

  • Performances – by college acapella groups and other youth performers, with discussions afterwards.
  • Learning sessions – between students from Temple Beth Shalom of Needham and Holocaust survivors, and with students and residents collaborating on art projects, technology and other special initiatives.
  • Camp Cove Days – three days of activities for children of staff members, who participate in activities with residents receiving skilled nursing care.

    These are just some of the many multigenerational programs that are held regularly throughout Hebrew SeniorLife communities. For more information, or to learn how to get involved, please contact:

Lynda Doctoroff Bussgang, Director
The Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program
Hebrew SeniorLife
5000 Great Meadow Road
Dedham, MA 02026

It is one of the prize accomplishments of my life to be able to be attached to young people, and benefit from them as they benefit from me.” – Resident

Through this experience, I’ve realized how much of my life I have left to live, and what a small fraction I’ve experienced thus far. It put things in complete perspective.” – Student