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Closing the generation gap Kids, seniors enjoy time together through budding Perham partnership

A few Perham Living residents and a group of kids from the Perham Boys and Girls Club play 'cat and mouse' with a parachute during an exercise session at Perham Living last Wednesday. Marie Nitke/FOCUS1 / 2
Norma Tellinghuisen laughs while doing "The Chicken Dance" with kids from the club. Marit Nitke/FOCUS2 / 2

A growing collaboration between the local Boys and Girls Club and Perham Living really seems to be 'working out.'

Every week, a small group of kids from the club and seniors from the nursing home get together for short exercise sessions. They play games like ring toss and 'cat and mouse' with a rainbow-colored parachute, and cut a rug to silly songs like "The Chicken Dance."

Last Wednesday afternoon, eight kids from the club were at Perham Living for one of these sessions, and they were very excited to be there. When asked if they were having fun, they all shouted an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

It was easy to see why: the kids were not only letting off some steam, they were also getting to know some new friends.

Friends like Linda Small, who loves being around children and watched with a smile as they played games. Or Dolly Nundahl, who couldn't stop laughing as she and the kids shook the parachute up and down, bouncing balloons high up into the air.

Many of the exercises are planned specifically with the kids in mind, designed to hold their attention and help them release energy in a healthy, positive way.

"It seems like the rougher, the better" when it comes to play, chuckled Norma Tellinghuisen. The Perham Living resident often joins the kids for different activities, and said she always enjoys the experience.

In addition to the exercise sessions, kids also visit the nursing home once a week for sing-alongs with seniors, and a few of the Perham Living residents visit the Boys and Girls Club every week to play bingo and card games.