School functions. Team sports. Youth groups. For children and teens, there are countless ways to create social interaction. However, does your family make time for seniors in your life a priority? If not, they’re missing out.
Studies show both kids and the elderly benefit from spending time together. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that seniors and teenagers of all ages enjoy sharing each other’s company.
What are the benefits of children spending time with the elderly?
- Improved mental and physical health for the elderly
Research has shown that they benefit both mentally and physically from interacting with young people. People often remember their youth when they are around children.
- Decreased loneliness
Senior citizens are more likely than other cultures to experience loneliness. Feeling forgotten, feeling alone, and wondering if you matter can be devastating at any age. According to a study from the University of California San Francisco, 43% of seniors report feeling lonely.
Participation in intergenerational programs and meaningful cross-age relationships may decrease social isolation and increase feelings of belonging, self-esteem, and well-being in older adults, while also improving social and emotional skills in children and youth.
- The gift of purpose and honor
Spending time with the elderly can help them feel valued, whether it’s by sharing their wisdom, or simply by being loved and on their mind.
Nowadays, older adults are more educated, healthier, and able than previous generations. They can be a tremendous resource. But what about the oldest, frailest of the old? They can be our best teachers. Their words and stories of times past can certainly instruct us, and they have a lifetime of accumulated wisdom to share. Nevertheless, what they help us learn is our place in the world and who we are as they teach us with who they are, with their very selves. Elders can also teach us important life lessons, which can impact and guide us through our lives.
What are the benefits of seniors spending time with children?
- Understanding the dignity of everyday life
Everyone has dignity and worth, and they should be respected and valued at every stage of their lives. When children realize their own mortality, they will realize that it is their responsibility to live the best life they can live so that they won’t spend their later years dissatisfied.
- Cultivate honor and respect for the elderly
Similarly, by making the effort when they are young, we are also more likely to see the same in them toward us when they get older.
- Improving the comfort and confidence of young people’s interactions with adults
The more adults your children interact with now, the more they will be able to handle the transition to adulthood later.
At Hospice of the Piedmont, we have seen the power of intergenerational relationships first hand. The spark of vitality has returned to the faces of so many seniors who benefit from the youthful conversations they share regarding today’s current events with our own care staff.
We have also seen families brought back into relationships with one another when they released the stress of being caretakers for their elderly loved ones to Hospice of the Piedmont. If you’re interested in seeing what Hospice of the Piedmont can do for your loved ones who may be experiencing serious or terminal illness, contact us at 434-817-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.