How Seniors and Kids Can Interact for Mutual Benefit
Intergenerational Activities Boost Seniors’ Memory, Self-Esteem, and Communication
As more of our population approaches the 65 and older mark, it is so important for seniors to engage with the younger generation. When members of both generations spend time together, both the child and senior benefit. For example, intergenerational activities can have significant benefits for the senior, including higher self-esteem, strengthened communication and decision-making skills, and improved memory. Children can also benefit from the attention and mentoring of a senior, which provides connection, friendship, and a confidence boost.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families had an older adult move in with them, presenting opportunities for children and seniors to spend more time together. While it can be difficult for children to overcome negative stereotypes about older adults, intergenerational activities can help them forge special bonds and connections with the seniors in their life. These are some great ways for seniors and young people to engage with each other, have fun, and make important connections.
- Spend time in nature. Visit a local park or sit together on the patio or porch. Bird watching, scavenging for leaves, and identifying trees are just a few ideas. Being outdoors gives seniors the added benefit of fresh air and some exercise.
- Do puzzles. Puzzles are one activity that can be easily shared by people of any age. It also lets seniors and children alike practice important memory and cognitive skills.
- Read aloud. Seniors can make such a difference in igniting a love of reading in a child. Visit your local library to source some great books—new and old—to enjoy together. If the child is able, encourage them to also read aloud to you.
- Bake cookies. Many children are excited to be in the kitchen, particularly when they are given a job. Baking a batch of cookies is a fun way to teach them a skill—plus nothing beats the smell of fresh cookies in the oven!
- Draw or paint. If you provide some simple kid-friendly art supplies like colored pencils, crayons, and paper, you can set up an art station on a table. While you work, you can talk about what you are drawing.
We hope these ideas for intergenerational activities help you make stronger connections with the younger people in your family and community. The PACE program for seniors encourages intergenerational connections for our participants in Cuyahoga County. If you are interested in more resources about PACE services, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.