Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Some of the Benefits of Intergenerational Activities
Lisa Lea, YMCA Childcare Director
Generations Child Development Center at Porter Hills Village
Watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic!
As the population ages there is a great potential for linking young and old together through intergenerational programming. Everyday we interact with multiple generations through the course of life in our greater community. When we move into an “senior living community” that often changes and we are surrounded by those the same age as us. At Porter Hills Village it was important that it was not just a “senior living community”, but a part of the larger community, which includes all generations.
Intergenerational connections take work and effort but are worth it. They are beneficial to both sides of the age continuum and provide opportunities to interact and engage in meaningful and purpose driven activities. Through these interactions talents and resources are shared.
- The children experience increased confidence and appreciation for older adults.
- They also have a greater knowledge of diversity in people.
- Children become accustomed to the resources older adults use in daily life like wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. These tools can be frightening to young children without experience with them. However, these things become a part of daily life and these assistive devices become natural.
- The elders benefit by volunteering time with young children which can improve health, provide purpose and improve emotional wellbeing.
- Older adults want to remain productive and active in the community and they often want to share what they have learned. Sharing their life experiences and stories can increase the knowledge of a young child creating an opportunity for learning and providing purpose for the elders.
- At Porter Hills the elders teach swimming lessons to kids in the wellness center pool, they rock babies at nap time and have regular picnics with the preschoolers.
- The reverse is true as well, elders end up learning learn new things from the children. Teaching an elder about technology, for example, educates young children about the importance of giving back.
All of these relationships take time to develop, but a strong relationship between an elder and preschooler can be an amazing sight to see. The smiles, hugs and joy is expressed by both the children and older adults alike.