Unique daycare brings kids and seniors together

Kids and seniors do activities like chair yoga together

Kids and seniors come together at Gentog daycare in Tigard. (KOIN)
Kids and seniors come together at Gentog daycare in Tigard. (KOIN)

TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — When you think of daycare you probably think of a place young children go when their parents are at work, but there’s a unique business in Tigard where it’s not just kids.

Kids and seniors come together at Gentog daycare in Tigard. (KOIN)
Kids and seniors come together at Gentog daycare in Tigard. (KOIN)

Gentog, which stands for Generations Together, brings kids and seniors who need extra care together. For most of the day, the kids and adults are separated in rooms on either side of the facility, but they meet in the middle for various activities.

“You can’t beat kids, they’re just so photogenic and so full of surprises and wonderful,” senior George Vaternick said.

Co-founder Marcie Jones says most of the adults at Gentog have some form of dementia or another condition that makes it unsafe to be home alone all day. The benefits they get from being around kids are clear.

“It keeps you going, it keeps you active,” senior Elaine Woelk said.

One of their group activities is chair yoga, a highlight of the week for many.

Jones believes it puts meaning back into the seniors’ lives.

George Vaternick goes to Gentog, where seniors and children have daycare together. (KOIN)
George Vaternick goes to Gentog, where seniors and children have daycare together. (KOIN)

“We have so many people in dementia who still enjoy being with people,” Jones said.

Vaternick said he’s seen people who were very in there shell really “flower” thanks to the interaction they get with the kids.

“I’ve seen miracles occur here,” he said.

Jones said the benefits the kids get from hanging around their elders may have long lasting effects.

“They learn to not see wheelchairs and walkers as a problem,” Jones said. “They don’t care about grey hair or wrinkles or any of that. They just see the person for who they are and it’s a normal part of life.”