For many families considering placing a loved one in an adult care home, significant thought is given to the children that live in the home and how their loved one will be affected by the presence of children on a daily basis. Most are quick to recognize the benefits of having children, big and small, involved in the lives of their loved one. But for others, the prospect of interacting with children in such close proximity can cause uncertainty and perhaps an unrealistic barrier to choosing a home.
It’s important to remember that there are key benefits to intergenerational interaction in care settings. Whether you are marketing your own home, or showing adult care homes as an agency, there are several key benefits of having children present to point out to your potential new family or client.
1. For the most part, children and the elderly seem to thrive in each other’s company. The elder can be a teacher of sorts, sharing stories and experiences that are new for the child. Children can give an elder a sense of purpose, and create commonality between two generations.
2. Over time, very special relationships between child and elder can form. These relationships may be long-lasting and will be cherished memories for the child who experiences intergenerational care.
3. Research has shown that children who spend one-on-one time with seniors show improved vocabulary and advanced social skills. Not surprisingly, older adults exhibit less boredom and loneliness.
There are many activities that children and seniors can do together. These would need to be tailored to the age of the child and abilities of the older adult, but even the most basic activities can bring great joy to both ages.
1. Community Service Projects: kids and seniors can work together to enhance the lives of those who are less fortunate.
2. Physical Exercise: A walk around the house is much more enjoyable when you have a companion! Exercise videos, “sit and be fit”, and balloon volleyball are easily adapted to the abilities of both children and seniors.
3. Crafts, board games, and story telling: Who doesn’t love making cheerio necklaces or playing UNO? Kids will be fascinated by stories, as will the senior listening to a young child’s imagination at work.
4. Music: the universal language. Whether listening or making music together, children and seniors will be transformed when they hear a familiar tune or a new beat that resonates within.
Click here to visit an Intergenerational Day Care that provides day care services for both children and adults. The connection, joy, and interaction between these two groups is priceless.
If you operate an adult care home hasn’t been blessed with children yet or you have older chilren not living in your home, consider networking with a nearby daycare or preschool about setting up regular visits to your home to enhance the lives of everyone involved.