The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab, in partnership with Five Star Senior Living, held its first national OMEGA Summit with six Five Star Senior Living communities in the greater Nashville area. The OMEGA Summit began as a regional program that engages and educates high school students who are interested in learning about intergenerational programming, leadership, careers in aging, and scholarship opportunities.
Over thirty teens and several Five Star Senior Living Residents, Staff, and MIT AgeLab researchers convened at the OMEGA Summit on February 29, 2020 at Fieldstone Place, a Five Star Senior Living community in Clarksville, TN. Attendees were introduced to the purpose and value of intergenerational programming by AgeLab researchers and had the opportunity to brainstorm and present their ideas for intergenerational programs that they might organize in their own communities or within one of the six local Five Star Senior Living communities.
The students received guidance for their ideas from volunteer Five Star Senior Living Residents and Lifestyle360 and Executive Directors from across the Clarksville region. Ideas that the students presented during the summit included:
- “Senior-to-Senior Spirit Week” – seniors in high school celebrate their school pride and connection with seniors at a local community center through mutually-designed activities, clothing themes, and other contests
- “Genterest” – a mobile application pairing participants from different generations based on shared interests
- “Community Yearbook” – an interview-based initiative designed to collate quotes, signatures, superlatives, and life histories from residents in a select senior living facility
- “Club Rewind” – an activity-based club connecting the generation of today with generations of the past
- “Friend to Friend” – a technology-based intervention pairing high school students with seniors based on liked activities
- “IGIT” – informative intergenerational talks, a spinoff of TED talks between the generations
- “Senior-to-Senior Activity Calendar” – An activity calendar run by high school students to include interest-based activities.
The summit also featured talks by Chesney Lancaster, Lifestyle360 Director of Fieldstone Place, Tony Whitehead, Executive Director of Fieldstone Place, and Laura Warnecke, Director of Resident Programming at Five Star Senior Living, on their journeys with careers in aging.
In addition to organizing the OMEGA Summit, the MIT AgeLab and Five Star Senior Living will award five $5,000 OMEGA scholarships this year to high school juniors and seniors across the United States who have developed or led intergenerational programming in their schools or communities. To learn more or apply please contact the MIT AgeLab at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-253-1894.