Bessie's Hope Germany Wins Award
Bridge between generations
Unloving hospital ambience and half the number of nurses as in Gernamy - living conditions in US nursing homes are very often not terrific. On the other hand this situation creates great innovative projects like “Bessie’s Hope” in Denver.
When the German nursing home administrator Horst Krumbach came to the United States to experience life in nursing homes abroad he saw lonesome nursing home residents as he also knows from home. But when the kids from “Bessie’s Hope” entered the room and gave the residents a welcome hug the elders started smiling with bright eyes. “There was a 100 percent change. The sudden joy hit me like a flash.” Horst Krumbach made this wonderful experience in all 18 nursing homes he visited together with “Bessie’s Hope” and he knew: We need Bessie’s Hope in Germany!
Bringing the young and the old together and sharing the wonderful concept of Bessie’s Hope is what “Generationsbruecke Aachen” now does. Before their first visit the kids are trained how to act with their new old friends and learn about care dependency, dementia and death. During their monthly visits each kid gets a grandpartner and often starts a closer relationship with her or him. Most important: The kids do not do something for but with the elders: singing, crafting, balloon playing and lots more.
The nursing home administrator realized that especially the very young kids are not afraid at all to deal with elders suffering from dementia: “Kids can reach their hearts on a much easier and deeper way than we adults.” The kids learn that being old and depending on care is something very normal and some of them even find a new grandma or grandpa.
At the present time already five groups from kindergartens and schools visit as many nursing home residents groups in Aachen. Bessie’s Hope covers already 60 nursing homes in Denver with over 13.000 kids involved over the years. This might become reality in Aachen one day.