It’s a win-win situation when youths and seniors unite in positive activities. The seniors benefit from the energy of young people, while the younger generation learns to socialize with adults.
Retirement communities and nursing homes often welcome supervised young people, who can entertain the seniors through playing musical instruments, performing skits, singing, reading together, and just talking with each other. Constructing craft projects together helps each group stimulate hand muscles and creativity.
“It’s heart-warming to watch young people helping seniors and working together. We had some Eagle Scouts at Fox Point, and they interacted with seniors on an outdoor project. Both groups learned from each other,” explains Judy Nordschow, director of Sales and Marketing, Fox Point, a senior lifestyle community.
She adds, “Seniors benefit by interacting with new people, and the youths learn that you don’t have to be afraid of someone with dementia. For young people who don’t have grandparents, this exposes them to a new generation, where they can both share stories and memories.”
Research from Education.com shows that for children, intergenerational programs offer benefits such as improved academic performance, enhanced social skills, decreased negative behavior, and increased stability. Children improve their communication skills and problem-solving abilities, and develop positive attitudes toward aging.
For seniors, interacting with young people reduces the feeling of being isolated and lonely, and spurs motivation to participate in life. Education.com adds, “Regular participation in structured social and productive activities has been shown to benefit the health and functional outcomes as people age.” Plus, older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn “20 percent more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on memory tests than peers.”
Fox Point : 3300 Charles J. Miler Memorial Highway, McHenry, IL 60050 : 815.385.9840 : http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.