Posted by Kelley Annese

Over the past year I have been working in Salem to support making Salem an age-friendly city. I spend many hours speaking to older residents, learning about what makes Salem a great place to grow older, and what would make it even better. This Thanksgiving, I was excited to bring older and younger residents of Salem together.

Over the summer, children in the YMCA's summer camp program met with older residents in senior housing to complete a community art project together. I was overjoyed that the older adults and the children were engaged and excited about the program and both generations were eager to collaborate again in the future.

This month, the YMCA's after school program created holiday cards for homebound seniors, inspired by the collaboration over the summer. The cards, along with a bag of groceries, were delivered by the North Shore Moving Market to older adults and younger adults with disabilities who will be spending Thanksgiving at home by themselves. The cards expressed the children's joy for the holidays and included a note to the recipient that he/she is remembered this Thanksgiving.

It is tangible projects like these that inspire me. They illustrate the type of intergenerational connections that are important in bringing a community together and understanding the value of all residents.

Kelley Annese is the Program Coordinator for Aging Well at Home in Salem, MA. During the past year, she has immersed herself in the Salem community getting to know all that Salem has to offer adults as they grow older. She has spent time interviewing older adults and organizations, offering various programs to educate and motivate residents, and assisting in the creation of the age-friendly Salem action plan for AARP. Kelley has a background in Marketing and is a certified yoga and meditation teacher with many years working with all ages in hospitals, senior centers, and schools.