Intergenerational Activities Between Toddlers And Your Senior Loved One Can Increase Their Well-Being
Intergenerational refers to the increasingly popular practice of involving multiple generations together with seniors. Pegasus home care professionals in Pasadena and elsewhere have observed improved well-being in seniors who spend time with youngsters. We’ve collected the facts here so you can decide if arranging mixed-age encounters will benefit your loved one.
In times past, children were often raised in multi-generation families. Grandparents and other elderly relatives were usually available. That’s rarely the case now.
Seniors are living longer now and often aging in place. They retain a degree of independence and self-sufficiency. Many don’t move in with, or even live close to, their children and grandchildren.
Not spending time with families often leaves many seniors lonely. Loneliness has a detrimental effect on your loved one’s health. They can get caught in a cycle of declining health that leads to increased isolation and loneliness.
Daycare For Children And Adults
Intergenerational programs had their start in schools, and retired adults continue to participate. Children also visited residents of nursing homes and similar facilities. Now the interactions are occurring in adult care and child care centers.
Adult daycare centers were developed to help the “sandwich” generation care for their senior loved ones. For medical and social reasons, leaving their elders home alone wasn’t an option. Nursing homes and similar facilities were not a solution either.
Daycare filled the need. Some seniors willingly spend time at adult daycare centers for the social opportunity. Some adult centers now incorporate child care in the same facility.
The children in child care are typically preschoolers. Some are infants, and the center may have a nursery. That gives the adults an opportunity to cuddle and rock babies.
Activities With Seniors Also Benefit Children
The human touch benefits both the infants and adults. It’s a quiet and peaceful time for both. It’s also a much-needed exchange of love.
Interactions between toddlers, babies, and adults are closely supervised. Activities are appropriate for the ages and abilities of both youngsters and oldsters. The number of activities and time together are also controlled.
Studies have shown that youngsters who spend time with older adults have improved social skills. They communicate better and are less aggressive. They learn patience and empathy.
Children also benefit because seniors have spare time to spend with them. Seniors usually aren’t trying to squeeze in a few minutes of quality time between obligations. They have the time and wisdom to answer the questions that curious little minds devise.
Interactions With Children Of Any Age Can Benefit Seniors
Most children have a wonderful sense of humor. They find even the corniest jokes hilarious. Few things improve an adult’s mental or physical health more than laughing with a child over endless knock-knock jokes.
Your senior loved one has skills and talents that can be taught to others. Showing a youngster how to draw a puppy face benefits the self-esteem of both. Passing on knowledge overcomes the idea that they are an old and worthless person.
The experiences of a long life help seniors be less judgmental. Very young children are also nonjudgmental. Everything is new, exciting, and interesting to them.
Just as the child’s brain is developing by what they are learning, seniors can find themselves thinking in new ways. Young children are extremely honest and will question statements and actions. They are also creative thinkers who can stimulate and challenge your senior loved one.
Intergenerational activities in care facilities are typically between unrelated adults and children. The idea is that each age group has something new to share with the other in a safe environment. The benefits include increased knowledge and enthusiasm for all.
The child care centers that are part of adult centers may have older children after school hours. Some may have activities that attract teens. Interactions with older children are different but equally beneficial.
Older children are often computer literate. They can challenge and stimulate your senior loved one by teaching them technology skills. Improved communication with them gives your senior a better understanding of what “those young kids today are up to.”
Dementia Is Not A Hindrance When Interacting With Children
Cognitively-impaired seniors also benefit from intergenerational activities. Studies have shown that seniors with Alzheimer’s or other dementia:
- Have positive interactions with children and smile or laugh more
- Can engage in successful conversations, especially with preschool age children
- Gain a sense of purpose by teaching the very young simple tasks such as how to fold something
- Feel more connected and like they have a reason to live
Supervision is essential because both children and cognitively-impaired adults can be unpredictable.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our home care services in Pasadena and our other locations include customizing care to fit the individual.
Our staff doesn’t include toddlers, but we can help your senior loved one find intergenerational opportunities. We’re here to provide the level of care needed, from basic assistance to full-time nursing care. Individuals are treated with dignity and respect for their privacy regardless of their medical needs.