Intergenerational activities can seem like a daunting task, however, by keeping an open mind and accepting dissimilarities, different generations can learn a lot from one another. Not only is it a great way to share knowledge and wisdom – its also fun and easy.
So what’s the benefit for others?
- Developing skills
- Building values and a sense of self-identification
- Historical and cultural traditions are preserved
Let’s discuss these more in depth.
There is no age limit to developing a new set of skills. Both young people and older adults can relate to one another by teaching or learning together. Cooking, reading, and creative thinking are all ways to connect. Here at Regency Retirement Village of Birmingham, we offer a full range of activities to develop these skills. Try offering a cooking lesson to young ones, reading stories with them in the library, or stop by our arts and crafts room for some coloring or scrap booking. Teach them about something you love; chances are they will too.
We are shaped by the events of our lives, and those who are in it. Which explains why children need older adults in their lives to fully complete the sense of self-identification. Older adults can help reach a child’s need for someone to look up to and idealize. The opportunity to engage and interact can greatly impact a child’s life. Not having grandchildren of your own doesn’t mean you can’t also make a difference. There are several intergenerational organizations that help facilitate co-mentoring relationships in seniors, children, and young adults.
Youthful relationships are an excellent way for seniors to pass down a piece of history and perspective through historical and cultural traditions. These rites of passage define our past, offer meaning and purpose for our present, and ensure our future. Preserve your traditions and cultures because today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults.
“Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
– Margaret Mead
While intergenerational interaction is mutually beneficial, for seniors, it is reducing isolation, loneliness, and poverty among the senior community. Through regular contact, they can become co-advocates for one another and unite with solutions for illiteracy, environmental issues, health issues, crime prevention, and much more.
Organizational development scholar Dr. Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”
According to Generations United, intergenerational activities allow seniors an active lifestyle, which is linked to living longer and healthier. “Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on a memory test than their peers,” the organization states. “Older adults with dementia experience more positive effect during interactions with children.” By remaining engaged in their communities, they enjoy a higher quality of life.
At Regency Retirement Village, that’s what we pride ourselves in – offering the highest quality of life to our senior community. Jeff Clay, Vice President of Business Development at of Regency Retirement Village, said his group recruits many volunteers who bring a variety of abilities to work alongside residents.
“For these volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for inter-generational experiences,” Clay said. “We understand that many schools and colleges require volunteer hours for their students, and we would love to support those efforts. Call today and speak with our Activities Director to learn of ways you can begin a fulfilling way of working with seniors!”
To learn more about Regency Retirement Village, call (205) 942-3355.
For information on communicating with different generations, visit The Charmm’d Foundation: http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations