There are many activities that multiple generations can take part in and still have a great time. For example, a high school student could accompany a elder grandparent for a ballroom dance, or a group of Girl Scouts could recite their pledge in front of a group of senior housing residents. A student in Brazil can converse with an elderly professor over webcam. There are a multitude of events and activities that can bring the old and the young together. Often, these moments help to bring joy to seniors while helping the youth learn more about the world and about life experiences, plus they can provide tangible health benefits to everyone involved.
Intergenerational activities can be extremely beneficial to improving the mental state, physical health, and happiness of older people. One study from the Generations United and the Eisner Foundation found that 92% of all Americans found intergenerational activities to help reduce loneliness, 94% agree that older people have the skills and talents needed to address a child’s needs, and 89% believe that children can help address the emotional needs of seniors. While many Americans seem to believe in the efficacy of intergenerational bonding, this type of bonding is difficult to facilitate. According to the same study, only a quarter of Americans are aware of nearby places that bring youth and seniors together.
This report recommends that schools, senior living communities, and more increase the number of shared spaces for older people and younger people to engage in activities and events together. Shared sites for intergenerational engagement should become a reality, one that fosters understanding and growth for both the youth and elderly communities. As the United States grows more diverse in race, ethnicity, and age, understanding among disparate groups will become more and more important.
In nursing homes and senior living communities, intergenerational activities are playing an important role in the lives of seniors and children. Residents have regularly scheduled activities, such as baking cookies, watching performances, learning how to paint, and more. There is even the “Senior Prom” night where local high school students come to the nursing home and dance with residents. Seniors can even win prom king and prom queen. Anytime a senior gets to engage with a young person, it inspires an unimaginable joy. Each person gets to know the other’s personality, see things from a fresh perspective, and use their experiences to tell stories and bond with one another. Best of all, they can dispel negative stereotypes about their respective age groups.
Programs with youth and seniors usually involve some sort of movement or exercise, which can help seniors to improve their physical fitness, work on their balance, and burn calories. These programs strengthen the spirit and help fight loneliness in seniors. Developing multiple connections with younger generations helps seniors to ward off the symptoms of dementia. Here are some activity ideas for you to try out!
Activity Ideas for Intergenerational Enjoyment
Here are some activities that you can suggest for the senior and youth in your life to try out. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive, and the sky is the limit when it comes to your imagination.
Stories are a universal human activity. We love to hear stories, engage with them, and share our own stories. For seniors and children, this can be an excellent outlet for both parties as well as a learning experience. There are a few different methods you can try for this approach. One way is to simply allow your senior to tell an exciting or interesting story from their past. Another way is to have both individuals engage in one sentence story telling. With this game, one person starts an imaginary story with one sentence and the other person has to provide the next sentence, and back and forth and so on. This kind of collaboration inspires surprise and joy for everyone! You could also pull out old photos and allow the younger person to ask questions about who was in them and what they were doing.
This is an excellent way to get some chores done and teach a valuable lesson about free labor. We’ve always got things that could use cleaning up, so put your senior and child to the task of a shared cleanup for either their own room or another spot. The two can engage in discussion about what should or shouldn't belong and also talk about the importance or history behind certain items. You can go through the senior’s clutter and help them pick what to keep, what to throw away, or what to donate. Next, you can go through the child’s things and do the same. Pretty soon, your senior and children will be engaging in healthy discussion about their favorite possessions.
Gardening and being in nature are additional activities that enrich the lives of seniors with positive benefits for physical and mental health. Having a younger person take the time to tend to a magnificent garden or enjoy a large botanical display can help them learn about nature and patience. Maintaining a garden will help feel a senior feel more productive and can give them tasks to help them maintain structure. Seniors who are considering gardening to try an elevated garden, container or planter, because they are easier for seniors to deal with in terms of balance and mobility. You could also try out a simple flower or herb garden to add a little extra flavor to the kitchen.
If you are worried that your senior may not be getting the socialization and time spent with younger generations as they could be, consider senior living options. Many communities exist across the nation where seniors can engage in fun social outings with younger generations and get the physical exercise they need. No matter where you are in life, Landmark Senior Living is here to make the process of growing older less worrisome and stressful. In the business of helping seniors for more than 30 years - our mission is to provide the best care in thriving communities that foster meaningful relationships for the rest of your life. Senior living doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Our high quality senior living communities provide the features you want, at a cost you can afford. If you or someone you love has questions about senior living, call one of our dedicated representatives today and take the first step towards a fuss-free retirement that’s full of joy and enriching opportunities.