Senior centers and senior communities in hundreds of locations across the globe have now begun to bring children to visit seniors on a regular basis. Some pre-schools have sprung up in the same buildings where seniors congregate for clubs, exercise and meals. Even the experts are amazed how these programs have become the most popular activities they offer. If you’re the care partner for an elderly loved one, check in to your local senior center and see if they offer an intergenerational program.
Almost all seniors love to feel needed and have purpose in their lives. Many hospitals encourage elders to come down and rock babies. It’s proven that human contact and a kind voice helps many infants recover faster from illnesses. It’s also a fact that most elders love to rock a baby!
Schools and libraries count on seniors to help out with reading programs. Some help children learn to read while others read out loud from those wonderful children’s books. It’s obvious to any who have watched an elder read to children how much both love the experience.
I have a part time job down at a local elementary school where a number of “retired” seniors also work part time. When I see Mr. Al, there’s usually a crowd of children around him. He loves interacting with the kids and the students adore him. He works just a couple of hours a day helping children cross the street and attending to them during recess. His wife works in the cafeteria as a cashier where she is very popular with the students. If your dad has declined after a retirement, you might encourage him to volunteer or take a part time job.
Keeping elders connected to youngsters is a perfect way to keep them healthy. Isolation is the worst thing for anyone, so encourage your elder to stay in touch, to get involved with people, and tell them how much it will mean to this next generation.