The more time young and old people spend together, the more both parties benefit. Children have a warm and infectious energy, which can help to bring so much joy to the elderly. In fact, research shows that connecting youths with seniors can help to boost confidence, increase communication, and improve memory.
Children also benefit from intergenerational relationships. Some may not have grandparents of their own and spending time with the elderly amongst the community offers many advantages. Seniors can share their wisdom and help children to develop many of their academic skills. Furthermore, seniors are often very patient and make great listeners. They can give a child their full attention, which any parent or teacher knows isn’t always easy to do!
The benefits of connecting youths and seniors include:
An opportunity for both young and old to learn new skills and transfer knowledge
Older generations have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and life experiences that can be passed down to younger generations. Wisdom, skills, and life lessons can be shared through intergenerational relationships, helping younger individuals to gain insights and guidance. Likewise, younger generations can offer new, ‘out of the box’ thinking and problem solving to their elders. This transfer of knowledge helps bridge the generation gap and fosters personal growth.
An occasion where both parties can feel motivated and inspired and gain a sense of purpose
Intergenerational relationships have been linked to improved health and well-being for both younger and older individuals. For older adults, engaging with younger generations can promote a sense of purpose and motivation, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and enhance cognitive function. For children and younger adults, intergenerational connections can provide a sense of belonging, emotional stability, and a positive outlook on life.
A way to share family history and knowledge about the past
It is an opportunity to not only share history and knowledge about your family, but also about poignant happenings within the lifetime of both parties. Younger generations can provide insights into new technologies, cultural trends, and social issues, while older generations can offer historical context, traditional values, and different perspectives. This exchange of knowledge helps break down stereotypes, enhances understanding, and promotes intercultural competence.
Sharing and passing down knowledge on family history will also help strengthen family bonds and create a sense of unity. Grandparents, for example, play a unique role in the lives of their grandchildren, providing love, support, and a connection to family history. These relationships foster a sense of continuity and identity, passing down traditions, values, and cultural heritage.
A chance for children who do not have grandparents to enjoy the benefits
Intergenerational relationships provide emotional support and companionship for both younger and older individuals. For younger people, older mentors or role models can offer guidance, understanding, and a sense of security. Older individuals, on the other hand, often benefit from the energy, enthusiasm, and new perspectives that younger generations bring. The companionship and mutual support can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.
For children, engaging with older adults can help develop communication skills, empathy, respect, and patience. Older adults, on the other hand, can benefit from the mental stimulation and the opportunity to stay connected with societal changes and trends through interactions with younger generations.
Overall, intergenerational relationships are important for mutual learning and growth, cultural preservation, social cohesion, addressing ageism, emotional support, health and well-being, and personal development. By nurturing and valuing these connections, societies can create a more inclusive, harmonious, and supportive environment for people of all ages.
Other benefits include:
- An opportunity for the elderly to learn about modern technology
- An opportunity for seniors to exercise both physically and mentally
- A chance to dismiss any negative opinions or fears of the elderly
- A way for children to learn how to care for the elderly
- A new routine which can help to reduce loneliness and depression in the elderly
If you are looking for some inspiration for activities that work well across generations, here are our suggestions of things to try that foster meaningful connections and enjoyable experiences between different age groups:
- Storytelling – whether its swapping life stories or creating new ones, storytelling is a great group or one-on-one activity.
- Arts and crafts – engage in painting, pottery, or collage making to encourage both parties to express their creativity and collaborate on a shared project.
- Cooking or baking – preparing meals together is a great bonding exercise as well as an opportunity to learn and share recipes, culinary traditions, and cooking skills.
- Partake in shared hobbies – whether you love gardening, reading, photography or music, pair up with a like-minded soul and enjoy together!
- Outdoor activities – take part in nature walks or sports activities that encourage individuals of different ages to engage in physical activities together. You’ll not only promote fitness and well-being, but you’ll learn about the natural environment together too.
- Volunteering or community service – participating in community projects such as helping at foodbanks, cleaning up public spaces, or assisting local charities will not only foster a sense of shared purpose but also allows for the exchange of skills and experiences.
- Family history projects – learn about your DNA, create your family tree, or simply organise photo albums together to connect over a shared heritage and learn about family roots, traditions and values.
How can you get involved?
A great place to start is by connecting schools and care homes within your local community. Think of some simple ways in which they can communicate even if they are unable to visit due to social distancing measures.
Christmas is an ideal time to reach out to the elderly. Perhaps you can encourage your children to make their own Christmas cards and send them to your local care home? This would be a lovely way to brighten someone’s spirits and make them feel less lonely or forgotten.
Creating relationships within the local community will bring many benefits to all involved, and building connections between young and old is sure to bring many happy memories. At the Future Care Group, we actively encourage visitors from the local community to engage with our residents. External visitors can really lift the mood of both residents and staff alike. If you are a community group or school that would like to arrange a visit to one of our care homes, we would love to chat with you and arrange. You will always be welcome in our homes.