Ageless interAction: The Art of Connection Continued from page 4
PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON
L to R: Volunteer Brandon Garrett and Megan Jain help a senior display his paintings.
By Isadora Pennington
Ageless interAction. The 501-(c) (3) nonprofit program seeks to connect seniors with local youth through the conduit of making art together. Jain’s work with elders began when she volunteered
“Art is a great medium of connection – when people create together, they connect with one another,” explains Meagan Jain, the artist behind
at a hospice during her freshman year of college. Aside from her experiences with her own grandparents, Jain had little understanding about what life was like as a senior. “Before that time, I had never heard of hospice and I certainly was not aware people died alone,” she said. “I had never been into assisted living homes or senior communities before, either. As it turns out, I came to thoroughly enjoy the time I spent with the elder adults receiving hospice care.” It quickly became apparent that many of the seniors in these facilities rarely had young visitors, so Jain created the AdoptA-Grandparent Program (AGP) while still in the undergraduate Gerontology program at Georgia State University. “The AGP was my first venture into connecting college students and elders. From there, I feel as though most of this work has been
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Meagan Jain, innovator of Ageless interAction
divinely created for me. All the pieces of the puzzle came together seemingly on their own.” From that initial spark of inspiration, Jain’s initiatives to connect the youth with elders has grown and changed to become what it is today. Ageless interAction came about as an idea in 2012, and became an official non-profit in 2014. Though Jain does all of the nitty-gritty work of running the company behind the scenes, she’s not entirely comfortable with the term “executive director,” and instead prefers, simply, “innovator.” “That’s what Ageless interAction is all about, innovation. Innovation in terms of how we are taking concepts of connection, friendship, aging and the arts and rewiring them to fit new models of creating opportunities for generations to connect, create, break down age stereotypes, and inspiring positive thoughts on aging.” Last December, Jain hosted an art event at Adult Day of Dunwoody. Around a large communal table sat approximately a dozen seniors, each painting an outdoor scene with the help of a volunteer and visual aids provided by Jain. One of the volunteers, Meg Mitchell, spoke of the experience in glowing terms. “It’s really awesome to be able to connect with the older