Care Innovation: "Tuesdays with Stories"

Last month IHCA member Iowa Masonic Health Facilities and three classes of eighth-grade Bettendorf Middle School students completed “Tuesdays with Stories,” an intergenerational history project.

Seventy-one students were paired with 21 residents from Iowa Masonic’s long-term care center and independent living community. Every Tuesday for five weeks, the students visited the facility and interviewed residents on their life stories, accomplishments, families, careers, major historical events they’ve witnessed and their advice for future generations.

At the end of the project, students prepared books based on the residents’ life experiences, videos, drawings, abstract art, soundtracks and final presentations that were delivered to the residents, families and community members.

The classroom objectives were to develop writing skills, participate in a peer response group and develop artistic technique. However, the true goal of the project was to bridge the gap and recognize the timeless value of generations – young and old.

“Students are filled with a new appreciation for elders in their community,” said Amy Wiyrick, Masonic Village coordinator. “It is so beautiful to watch them transform from often shy, unsure and hesitant to excited and looking forward to visiting their ‘person’ each week to learn all they can.”

In addition to developing questions for residents, the students filmed and edited videos of the interviews to capture the stories of the residents’ lives. The videos were then gifted to the residents and their families.

 “Our residents are filled with such joy and affirmation when they work with these students,” said Wiyrick. “Joy from being around young students and sharing their life stories, and affirmation of their life’s achievements and reflections on all they’ve seen and done throughout their lifetime.”

This spring was the second time Iowa Masonic partnered with Bettendorf Middle School for this intergenerational program, and plans are in the works for a third partnership for fall of 2019.

Click here to view photos of the residents and students during the final presentations.