How Seniors Benefit from Interaction with Children and Young Adults
When seniors interact and make personal connections with members of younger generations, such as children and teenagers, the benefits for all parties involved can be boundless. Here, the home care providers at Avila Home Care discuss how seniors can benefit from interacting with children and young adults to increase their livelihood and even experience health benefits.
Eliminates Ageism and Unites the Generations
Occasionally, disconnects between generations can create feelings of misunderstanding or even judgement. Because members of separate generations experience and develop contrasting life circumstances, cultures, belief systems and attitudes, their values and opinions on various social and political topics may differ as well. By interacting with younger generations, seniors can learn more about the views and beliefs of young people and vice versa, helping to reduce feelings of ageism that can occasionally foster out of a disconnect associated with age gaps. Many seniors are prone to experience ageism, which can lead to reduced opportunities in healthcare, employment and society and have a profound impact on their daily lives. By allowing members of contrasting age groups to connect and form relationships, they may realize they have more in common than they originally thought, thereby reducing feelings of ageism across generations.
In addition, a Stanford study that observed the relationships between older and younger generations found that an increased sense of purpose and emotional satisfaction due to intergenerational interaction extended both ways, and that interaction with young people offered seniors the chance to learn new technologies and societal trends through the eyes of children and teenagers.
Fosters Emotional Connections
When seniors spend time with children, they can create meaningful relationships with younger communities and form lasting bonds. For example, a senior residential home called Nightingale House, located in London, has a program in place for residents that includes intergenerational activities like gardening, art, baking and exercise with the two and three-year-olds of the co-located daycare. Residents have stated that they wait in anticipation for the children to arrive and thoroughly enjoy interacting with the children. Ali Somers, the co-founder of the co-located daycare Apples and Honey Nightingale, said, “They’re responding to an external stimulus, which is a toddler with an adorable grin fumbling towards them, carrying a toy, trying to interact.” When the residents have an activity to look forward to, in this case interaction with the daycare children, they feel a sense of encouragement, community and youthfulness they may have felt they lacked before.
Increases Longevity and Quality of Life
A profound effect of intergenerational bonding is its positive impacts on physical health and longevity. At Nightingale House, many residents have experienced an increased quality of life and a myriad of health benefits as a result of intergenerational activities, with Somers noting that residents “very often forget their own physical limitations,” and that “they’re encouraged to walk from the home down to the nursery. They’re going outside more. They want to opt in to working with and spending time with and playing with the residents.” In other words, indirect results of the elderly residents of Nightingale interacting with children are increased movement, more outside time and greater confidence in their physical abilities.
The Compassionate Home Care Providers at Avila Home Care Value Intergenerational Bonding
At Avila Home Care, our mission is to provide endless health and happiness to our seniors, and interaction with younger generations can foster earnest relationships that help break down generation barriers and increase quality of life. It is evident that meaningful relationships that extend across age groups have a wealth of physical, mental and emotional benefits and the dedicated aging-in-place caretakers at Avila Home Care can help you in your journey to making valuable connections with younger generations. For more information on how our caretakers can aid you in your aging-in-place experience, contact Avila Home Care today.
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