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Mixing young and old, Hope Creek could add child daycare

EAST MOLINE - It's an experiment that's worked elsewhere.

"It prompted me to think well could we do that here in Rock Island County, why can`t we just explore the option," said Tammy Muerhoff, Regional Superintendent for Rock Island County schools.

Rock Island County's Hope Creek Care Center could get a jolt of youth. On Tuesday, the county board agreed to apply for a grant to open a daycare in the senior living center. Residents could see up to 20 children, from three to five years old.

"That would be the intention to have some time throughout each day in which the children and the older adults are interacting in some manner," said Muerhoff.

Studies find seniors become less lonely and are more healthy when they're interacting with others, so children could be the best medicine.

"Some of these people they don`t have anybody that comes to visit them. I think it would be amazing for them to have you know these children to do projects with and just interact with," said Mia Mayberry, county board member.

Muerhoff says there's also a benefit to the kids too, "The children could really benefit from learning about all of the older adults and their experiences they`ve had in their lives."

However, the county isn't ignoring its bottom line. This could be a financial boost to the once deficit-plagued Hope Creek home.

"We`re kind of putting everything out on the table. We`re trying to think outside the box on this for things that will be beneficial for hope creek and possibly revenue generating," said Mayberry.

This isn't the only idea on the table for Hope Creek, the county is also looking at hospice care or a space for patients with Alzheimer's.

If the grant is approved, the county will talk to other cities with similar programs to find a model that could work for the county.

The county board will vote on which option works best.