Intergenerational Programs

Enriching Lives Across Generations

Through the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program, Hebrew SeniorLife unites generations, bringing senior residents and patients together with students from the community to forge impactful, meaningful relationships. Operating across Hebrew SeniorLife’s continuum of care and in partnership with a variety of 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 intergenerational programs, including being honored as a Program of Distinction by Generations United. 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.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 1,500 young people participate annually.
  • 550 residents and patients are actively involved in regular programs.
  • We provided 775 total hours of intergenerational programming for the 2018-2019 school year.

Learn more with this video showcasing Lynda Doctoroff Bussgang, director of The Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program.

Intergenerational Programming

Take a look at a sampling of what you can expect from the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program:

  • Alzheimer’s Buddies: Weekly one-on-one visits between Harvard and Boston College students and dementia patients, with each student engaging the same senior throughout the school year.
  • Preschool Programs: Willow Path Preschool, Little Voices of Hyde Park, Children's Music Center, and the Temple Beth Shalom Preschool bring the youngest and oldest community members together for music, reading, art projects, and heart-warming interaction.
  • Middle and High School Service Programs: Students from Dedham High School, Noble and Greenough School, Maimonides, Jewish Community Day school, and others regularly visit to participate in life enhancement programs and build relationships with patients.
  • Performance Series: Students from Boston University Conservatory, New England Conservatory, area a capella groups, and individual music students and entertainers share their talents regularly.
  • SHOP (Students Helping Older People): Brookline High School student program that provides grocery shopping and friendly visits for residents.
  • Adopt a Bubbe: Monthly dinners with Maimonides High School students and residents.
  • Performances: By a cappella groups and musicians from the New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, From the Top, and individual youth performers.
  • School and Community Partners: New partnerships in the 2019-2020 academic year include Harvard Medical School students, Kehillath Israel Religious School, Boston University Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, Ohabei Shalom Preschool, and others.
  • Making Memories: Weekly one-on-one visits between middle school students from the neighboring Rashi School and residents in memory care.
  • Rashi School Programming: Over 74 programs each year with students in grades K-8 and residents in independent and assisted living, and patients in long-term chronic care. Independent living residents volunteer weekly with younger students at the school.
  • Dedham Public Schools: High school students meet with seniors weekly, providing companionship and conversation.
  • Individual Volunteers: More than 40 individual students participate in one-on-one visits with patients and residents across the campus.
  • Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech: Residents meet with hearing impaired youth to help them develop listening and language skills.
  • Color Me Happy: Canton High School students enjoy craft activities with skilled nursing residents.
  • Canton Mom's Club: Moms and their children participate in holiday festivities and guided programs with residents.
  • Jewish Holiday Programs: Run by middle school students at  Epstein Hillel School.
  • Garfield Elementary School: Residents and students visit to read, discuss, and create projects based on themes central to the Common Core curriculum.
  • Curry College Nursing Program: An intergenerational class called “The Nursing Care of Older Adults” has become a national model for nurse training and intergenetional innovation.
  • Service Programs: With Milton Academy, Noble and Greenough, Temple Chayai Shalom, and other schools; includes weekly student lunch visits, annual on-site community service program days, 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.
An eighth grader with braided pigtails holds up a tablet as she shares a conversation in Spanish with a memory care patient.

Volunteer With Seniors

We invite students middle school age and older for ongoing work with patients and residents. We can personalize a rewarding experience for your bar/bat mitzvah, scouting, or other community service project.

Lynda Bussgang, HSL Multigenerational Program Manager, tosses a ball during an intergenerational activity.

Meet the Director

Lynda Doctoroff Bussgang is director of the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program. She oversees and develops intergenerational programs for all of Hebrew SeniorLife’s campuses. Lynda is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read Lynda's Blog Posts

Forging Friendships. Enriching Lives.

Intergenerational programs are offered on all Hebrew SeniorLife campuses.