By Sr. Edna Lonergan, OSF
I’ve often said I’d love to see an intergenerational center on every corner. A few months ago, in November of 2018, I had a chance to share that message in Tainan, Taiwan, at the two-day International Conference on Three Generations Under One Roof. The invitation came from Charity Yang, a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University and the director of St. Theresa Opportunity Center for children in Taiwan.
Charity had toured St. Ann Center on a visit last year and knew her country would be interested in our model. The elderly are the fastest-growing demographic in Taiwan–and intergenerational care fits perfectly with their cultural respect for elders.
The conference room was packed with 192 educators, government officials, architects, health professionals, parent groups and people who work with those who have special needs. Charity warned me the audience might be too shy to ask me questions. But did they ever! Real estate is at a premium in urban Taiwan, so combining a child and adult day care in one building was a popular idea.
Although I don’t speak Mandarin, Charity was a wonderful interpreter and made my presentation on our St. Ann Center model of intergenerational care flow smoothly. Much of the event needed no interpretation, however. I could see the joy that went into the skits and songs the Taiwanese elders and children performed together. And I could understand the conference attendees’ hunger for information on ways to positively connect the generations.
Having never visited Taiwan, I didn’t realize how beautiful it is until I saw its breathtaking mountains and countryside for myself. And it was so much fun eating my way through the city’s bustling marketplace. It was filled with families and people of all ages. Just like home!
You can share a bit of my exciting visit here.