Considerations for Intergenerational Day Care

Intergenerational day-care centers are being heralded as an ideal solution to finding quality day care for both seniors and children. But Ann Pleshette Murphy, ABC News' parenting contributor, says there are certain criteria to consider for both the senior and the child when deciding whether the day-care center is the right fit.

For seniors

Make sure spending time with the children is optional. Not all seniors enjoy hanging out with kids so there should be an adult-only space at the center.

Go for a center with cross-trained staff that knows the needs of the children and the seniors. For instance, they need to know how to pair the adults and the kids appropriately. You don't want to pair an adult who has Alzheimer's with a child who is easily frustrated. Staff must know the signs to swoop in if something is not right.

For children

Look for one-on-one time. This shouldn't just be entertainment with seniors and children watching movies. It's better if a child and senior are interacting by baking muffins or reading a book.

Children need contact with fit seniors. It's important that children are exposed to healthy, fit seniors, and not just elderly who are sick and frail.

Children need regular health checks. Since the flu can be fatal to an elderly person, it's important children are checked for signs of illness each day.