Visit the intergenerational center “Il Melo” (Gallarate, Milan)

On November 7, 2019, the Units group visited “Il Melo” center in Gallarate, in the province of Milan.

Born from a territorial volunteering experience in 1969, “Il Melo” became a Social Solidarity Cooperative in 1980 with the name of Social Cooperation Center. In the following years the Cooperative has given birth to numerous other services, which currently include:

  • Day Care Center for the Elderly,
  • Assisted Living Center for the Elderly,
  • A Cultural center,
  • A Short Term Residential Facility,
  • Children Services Day Care Center.

Already in the mid-1990s “Il Melo” started intergenerational projects, specifically promoting an interactive demonstration of intergenerational solidarity and facilitating national and international exchange and coordination networks. “Il Melo” has been operating for over thirty years in the field of socio-health and cultural services for the elderly through research, design and experimentation of innovative socio-welfare models that over the years have achieved appreciation and recognition at national and European level.  

There is also a Cultural Center with 400 members who attend about 35 courses a day and workshops set up in the conference rooms, classrooms, theatre, concert halls, ateliers and gyms.

The impression one gets when entering “Il Melo” is that of a colourful, open, sunny place, where the fatigue of being elderly is lightened and sometimes not visible by the community atmosphere that has been created. The most significant aspect is certainly represented by the personnel who work there: all professionals (nurses, doctors, assistants, health workers, educators, animators) engaged in methods and experiences of welcoming and respecting the elderly person. Everyone can discover inside „Il Melo”, a home and a place to „feel good”, in moments of shared activity as well as in moments of individual activity.

This aspect is well represented by the fact that over time it has developed very detailed project documentation, which gives meaning to every activity carried out, and that is always framed in a sharing among the various professionals involved.
The fundamental characterization of “Il Melo” is centred on the intergenerational thrust that has led to the activation of many other services that provide for interaction and a profitable interchange between generations.
In this rich and variegated facility, the NIDO SUL MELO has been inserted since September 2014, which welcomes children from 3 months to 3 years. This educational project provides for natural interaction between Seniors and Children, perfectly fitting into the methodological references of the Cooperative that sees life span, integration and cooperation between the generations as the founding pillar of its mission. During the visits carried out by the Units group this is certainly an experience rich in interesting ideas from the research point of view, from these different aspects:

  • the architectural dimension;
  • the opening of the external spaces to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood;
  • specific attention to the training of professional figures;
  • investment in the presence of educators;
  • a strong value dimension linked to the dignity of the person in all its life phases.

It has also been interesting to learn that over these 10 years, “Il Melo” has been offering intergenerational activities for primary schools and that every year a public show is presented, related to the activities carried out within these structures.

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