AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Chelsea Place Memory Care Facility on Quincy and Parker Road in Aurora looks like a nice, quiet place to spend two weeks. Some high school students did just that, but they found out the people living there are anything but quiet.
On Thursday a group of male students from Regis Jesuit High School performed a show there that was the product of two weeks of preparation. It featured the students and their newfound elder friends, and included music and fun visual presentations.
“Our job is to liven up the community, but they end up livening up our lives instead,” Regis senior Rene Del Barco said.
The group of young men took time out of their senior year to give back. The project they chose was to spend time with the residents of Chelsea Place. Another Regis senior, John Miller, explained their role:
“We talk with them, we have conversation. We serve them breakfast. We feed them sometimes. We do activities and we just have a fun time with them.”
Miller said the elders seemed to enjoy it.
“When we talk with them I feel like they are genuinely happy,” he said.
And while the teens came in with preconceived ideas about what their experience might be like, the residents surprised the teens and even taught them a thing or two.
“I definitely learned how to like live in the moment, how to experience my life for the time I’m in right now,” Del Barco said.
“Although they have Alzheimer’s (disease), there’s so much that we can learn from them and so much they want to teach us, too.”
In addition to spending time with their elders, the kids say they also learned a lot about dementia and the stigmas that surround it. They say they have a greater understanding of the disease and more respect for the people living with it.