At first glance, a child and an older adult don’t appear to have much in common, but experience shows that intergenerational activities have an abundant variety of benefits.
Intergenerational activities reduce isolation for seniors.
The truth about aging is that not everyone ages with you. Many seniors talk about the loneliness that comes from losing loved ones: spouses, friends, and, sadly, even their adult children. As driving and overall mobility decreases, it’s easy for seniors to become isolated. Visits from grandchildren and great-grandchildren can make a world of difference. While the older adult may always long for those they miss, these new relationships can invigorate them and give them a sense of purpose—something to look forward to.
Intergenerational activities help prevent ageism—for both ends of the spectrum.
We’ve probably all been guilty of stereotyping the young and the old. It’s easy for these stereotypes to trickle into all generations. But once a senior sees that not all children are spoiled, and a child learns that older adults aren’t boring or scary, we can build a new stereotype—one grounded in knowledge and experience.
Intergenerational activities provide an opportunity to learn new things.
Through the art of story-telling, family tales are kept alive when Grandma tells her grandson about their move to the United States. Great-grandchildren teach their elders how to use Skype or FaceTime so they can stay in touch with relatives far away. The opportunities to exchange knowledge and experience are endless.
We encourage you to promote intergenerational activities within your family and community. Find out if any shut-ins at your church would like a visit, or schedule a visit with an elderly aunt you may have lost touch with. You’d be surprised what a difference it makes for everyone involved.
Providence Life Services communities provide plenty of opportunities for intergenerational activities. If you, or your child, would like to volunteer, at one of the Providence communities, click here for more information.