UCF program bridges generation gap

Grow and Play program getting results for all ages

ORLANDO, Fla. – Summer is the perfect time of year to learn something new, no matter your age.

"The Grow and Play program is an intergenerational physical activity program that brings kids and older adults together to play old school games," said UCF Physical Therapy faculty member, Jennifer Tucker.

She called the program the brain child of Jennifer Tucker, Nicole Dawson and a group of UCF researchers all working toward the same goal: to get people of all ages active.

"We had an opportunity to interact together, and it increased our activity level definitely. I don't play spud at home," said Betty Allen, one of the adult participants of Grow and Play.

The group of participants range in age from six to 90 years old.

"Your whole being came alive when you came here, I didn't expect it," said Patricia Coleman, another adult participant.

Accelerometers measured activity levels, and surveys were conducted to reveal changes in mood and perceptions on aging.

"It doesn't seem to us that those are novel experiences, but to kids, if you've only bowled on Wii, to come and bowl with other people is a different experience, and it's fun," said Tucker, "It's been even beyond what we thought it would be, it's built a sense of community between our older adults and our kids."

The eight-week program concluded in July. Tucker and her team at UCF will now review the results to determine the changes in physical activity compared to the participants' normal routines.

About the Author: