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Playdates With Toddlers Adding Spark Back Into Lives Of Senior Citizens

BEVERLY HILLS ( — They are unlikely playmates: toddlers and senior citizens.

"It reminds me of the old days when I was a little kid and I used to play just like this," said Adrian Loren, a senior citizen.

The two generations, in some cases separated by more than nine decades, come together at the Tots 2 Seniors program at Sunrise Senior Living in Beverly Hills.

"I love it. I wouldn't miss it for the world," Loren said.

The weekly "mommy and me" classes led by Elisa Schoenfeld. She's been teaching traditional toddler classes for more than 15 years.

But here, she says, "it's a whole different dynamic."

Schoenfeld, who has a background in child development, believes bringing seniors and toddlers together teaches the children about diversity, empathy, and most importantly, patience.

For some of the more introverted seniors, the class is one of the only times they leave their room.

"One lady told me, 'I don't remember that much but I remember when the kids come,' " Schoenfeld said.

And it's not just the kids who are learning here.

Miriam Nelson had a long and successful career as a dancer in Hollywood, but the 96-year-old says these kids have taught her to truly enjoy life.

"They don't think about anger or anything. They just play and have a good time," she said.

For more information on the class, click here.

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