Sometimes it seems like the generations have never been farther apart. Kids stare into their smartphones and interact at a pace faster than ever before, meanwhile, their elders shake their heads and wonder what happened and how can it be so different than when they were kids.
Surely, today’s senior citizens caused the same stress and grief for their parents as the kids of this current generation bring into the world. Older generations were frowned upon with their Rock and Roll music and breaking gender barriers. At the end of the day, however, the two sides are surprisingly not that different.
Today’s generation gets grief for a myriad of things that didn’t align with the previous generation’s “traditions,” but that is the beauty of interaction between the generations and one of the reasons why interactions between the two can be so valuable for everyone involved. Now that the holiday season is just around the corner, the time is ripe to bring senior citizens and children together to share experiences, deepen understanding and help each other make sense of a changing world.
The Irreplaceable Value of Living History
It’s one thing to read about history in a textbook. It’s quite another to learn about historical events firsthand from the people who lived them. Bringing senior citizens and young children together is good for people of all generations, but it can be particularly valuable for kids who think they don’t like history and even better for kids that find it fascinating.
Whether the intergenerational interaction is arranged by the local school district, created through government programs, or grown organically through the family, it opens a window on the past no classroom can match. Even the most gifted teacher cannot provide the firsthand experience a grandparent or local senior citizen that was actively involved in historical protests or felt the after effects of the depression and the experiences they can bring to the table.
A Deeper Understanding
Some generation may think that things have never been worse, and that their era has been a particularly heavy burden than others. While in certain cases, it can be true, it’s also a popular perception – one where regular interactions between senior citizens and young children can help overcome.
Regular interactions between young school-age children and senior citizens can provide a deeper understanding for everyone involved. The kids will learn about a time before cell phones and the Internet, while their elders will learn about the wonders of technological innovations and the designs of the 21st century their generations directly influenced. At the end of the day, members of both generations will walk away with a deeper understanding of the world around them and the many things all human beings have in common.
Less Social Isolation and More Fun
Many senior citizens find themselves isolated and physically separated from family and friends. Maybe their spouse has passed away and now finds themselves alone. Perhaps the kids have moved away and the grandkids can only visit a few times a year. No matter what the reason, social isolation is a big problem for senior citizens – and one that interaction with young people can help to resolve. This is a great opportunity where technology can reduce that feeling of separation and distances can be overcome.
There is nothing like the sound of a child’s laughter to chase away the feeling of old age and eliminate loneliness. Participating in childhood games and other activities with today’s youth is a great way for seniors to relive their own childhoods and reconnect with the joys of the past. The improvements in the quality of life are positive for everyone involved, regardless of age.
A.G. Rhodes is a strong advocate for introducing innovative programs for senior residents in order to help them improve their quality of life and age comfortably. A major factor in delivering this kind of quality senior care comes from community and family interactions. We strongly recommend family and friends and local community volunteers to visit our facilities and interact with our residents and share experiences, memories, and discover new things. Please call or visit any of our senior homes today!