Many families live hours or thousands of miles apart. Family ties last a lifetime, but separation can destroy comfort, tradition, learning, history, purpose, and belonging. Individuals in assisted living communities can become isolated and lonely without intergenerational activities, posing severe health risks.
Isolation and loneliness have been linked to early physical and cognitive decline, including heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, and a weakened immune system.
Benefits of Intergenerational Activities
Assisted living activities can offer numerous benefits through intergenerational programs. They bring health and happiness to residents and youth, making them an excellent resource for such opportunities.
Intergenerational programs and meaningful cross-age relationships may reduce social isolation and increase the self-esteem, belonging, and well-being of loved ones in the retirement phase of life. These activities can also enhance children’s social and emotional skills. Here are a few more benefits of these activities:
- Individuals who work with children burn 20% more calories per week, fall less, use canes less, and perform better on memory tests than their peers.
- Interactions with children benefit individuals with dementia and other cognitive impairments more than non-generational activities.
- Technology and knowledge sharing between the generations is a plus.
- Children can improve their reading scores in schools when seniors volunteer for them.
- Youth interacting with seniors learn communication, a positive attitude toward others, problem-solving skills, a sense of purpose, and community service.
- Intergenerational guidance programs reduce drug use, alcohol use, and school absence considerably.
- Emotionally satisfying relationships formed help both generations.
Intergenerational Activity Ideas
Many assisted living communities often include intergenerational events in their wellness programs. Many have long-standing partnerships with local schools, colleges, community groups, and cultural centers. Thus, both generations can continue to study, play, talk, and laugh together. Here are the top 7 intergenerational activity ideas for seniors in assisted living communities:
- Reading and Mentoring: Seniors can mentor teens or read to smaller children on or off campus. They can also assist with homework, review materials, and talk about life and history.
- Day Care Partnerships: Community members can routinely volunteer at a local daycare center to engage preschoolers in planned hands-on activities and informal social interactions.
- Music Classes or Performances: Whether a high school show choir performs or locals visit an elementary school to take a music class, music brings people of all ages together to learn and perform.
- Gardening: Many towns have community gardens where generations can enjoy growing and caring for flowers, vegetables, and different types of plants in nature. Seniors can share their advice and learn from kids in a relaxed setting.
- Cooking Together: Sharing a secret recipe or mixing cookie batter in a resident’s or community kitchen is a fun way for both generations to learn new skills. It’s also an excellent time to chat.
- Arts and Crafts: Seniors and kids can learn from each other and make good friends while creating arts and craftworks.
- Family Dinners and Cookouts: Reputed assisted living communities host monthly picnics, parties, cookouts, and meals. They bring together many people of all ages to socialize, make friends, and learn.
In Arlington, TX, assisted living activities can help generations stay connected, socialize, and form fun and vital relationships. That’s the key to a long, healthy, and happy life.