Studies have shown that as individuals age, they often become more isolated, which can lead to increasingly poor health. To combat this, a Grand Rapids church is opening a new day center to help frail adults socialize more and, hopefully, remain healthier longer.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 250 Commerce Ave. SW, which operates the Hill Child Development Center in the Heartside district, is opening the Bethlehem Intergenerational Center for “frail elderly adults.”

The center will operate Monday through Friday at the same times as the Hill Child Development Center and will offer opportunities for the adults and children to participate in activities together.

The children and seniors also will spend time in separate wings during the day.

To accommodate its new senior day care center, Bethlehem spent $250,000 on renovations to its building, including necessary ADA upgrades.

It also updated the building's security to include key-carded doors to keep seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s safe.

Pastor Jay Schrimpf, of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, said the idea for the intergenerational center came about after church leaders were challenged to come up with the church’s next venture for the community.

“We have an ethos that says if we are not moving forward, we are moving backward; there is no standing still,” Schrimpf said.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of the Grand Rapids Business Journal or visit their website.