Elderly man with his granddaughter standing between flowers

Why Are Intergenerational Activities Important?

Close, supportive family relationships are valuable at any age. However, for seniors, the importance of these connections impacts nearly every aspect of daily life. Not only do family connections provide consistency and comfort, but seniors who have strong family connections have been shown to outlive those with fewer social and familial connections due to a generally higher quality of life. In the 2015 United States Aging Survey, relationships with family were a top priority to more than 30 percent of those surveyed!

Activities that foster family connections while helping seniors to stay physically active are crucial to creating an active lifestyle filled with engagement and enjoyment.

What are Intergenerational Activities?

As an age gap opens between family members, it is possible for those people to begin feeling less connected. Intergenerational activities can strengthen the bonds between loved ones. This type of activity encourages people of all ages to engage with one another, work together and learn together. There are benefits to the older adults and the younger family members in bridging these gaps and in taking part in intergenerational activities.

Intergenerational programs, like those at many senior living communities, bring together seniors and young people to build friendships, learn new skills and encourage community service. Intergenerational activities can range from planned, all-day activities to casual get-togethers. So, what are examples of intergenerational programs? Here are five examples of intergenerational activities that can be enjoyed at every age:

  • Going for a nature walk
  • Going out for a meal
  • Taking a class (or listening to a podcast)
  • Doing a puzzle
  • Starting a book club

What are the Benefits of Intergenerational Programs?

Family dynamics are always changing. One of the most impactful changes is the shift between parents and children when the parents reach an age where they need assistance. Parents care for children when the kids are young and often need care from their children as they grow older. However, keeping family connections strong is a vital part of keeping elderly loved ones healthy and happy. In addition to the health and emotional benefits seniors gain from spending time with family and friends, there are also benefits to the younger generations. Young people who spend time with grandparents are more likely to:

  • Develop an attitude of service
  • Maintain family stories and memories
  • Learn new skills
  • Feel a connection to their family history
  • Understand dignity at each stage of life

Family connections and social engagement help seniors in many ways. Elderly persons with strong ties to family are known to experience the following benefits:

  • Healthier brains. Seniors who are happily engaged in social activities with friends or family members are more likely to have improved thinking and memory skills.
  • Stronger immune systems. Seniors who are more social often have stronger immune systems, which is an especially important defense system for seniors.
  • Better overall mental health. Feeling involved, supported, cared for and needed all help seniors to reduce their risk of depression.

Ideas for Intergenerational Activities

Family members interested in building bonds with elderly loved ones may wonder, “What activities can bring generations together?” Many times, this answer depends on the abilities of the older adult, proximity of family members and what resources are available. For example, at many senior living communities, there are established opportunities for seniors to share enjoyable activities for seniors with friends and family members of all ages. From fitness classes to outdoor activities and transportation around town, Tutera Senior Living & Health Care communities are ready to support the social needs of residents and their families.

Here are 10 suggestions for intergenerational activities that everyone can enjoy:

  1. Gardening. From growing a garden to simply maintaining a few potted plants, this activity is easy to manage at any age and can be a wonderful learning experience for young, first-time gardeners.
  2. Crafting. Intergenerational craft ideas include creating a family tree, making holiday cards and drawing or painting – all of which help people of all ages learn new skills and spark creativity.
  3. Scrapbooking. Capturing memories, stories and photos together can be an excellent intergenerational activity idea and a way to learn about and preserve family history.
  4. Picnicking. Sharing a meal outdoors feels like a special occasion! Plan ahead and bring plenty of favorite foods and enjoy each other’s company in a beautiful setting.
  5. Movies. Allowing an elderly loved one to share a long-loved movie, book or music album allows that person the chance to share a bit of their life experience and to pass on new interests to the next generation.
  6. Volunteer. Select a cause that touches the hearts of all involved and find a way to contribute.
  7. Play sports. Some family members may play an active role, while others may keep score or serve as the referee. Keep the spirit of competition alive and support an active lifestyle by showing off your moves!
  8. Make and record recipes. Family recipes are a treasured thing to pass down. Make the recipes together and find a secure way to keep the favorites safe for the next cook in the family.
  9. Play games. From card games to board games or charades, there are many games that can be fun for the entire family. Plan a game night with your favorite snacks, bring some jokes to tell and let the good times roll!
  10. Find a connection app. Staying connected online can absolutely foster family connections. Some apps can help families manage their calendars, set reminders about shared events, allow family members to share messages and pictures and set up secure ways to live chat. Being online together can even create the opportunity for virtual intergenerational activities!

At Tutera Senior Living & Health Care, our communities are ready to help our residents live the life they deserve. In addition to providing our residents with a variety of housing options, we offer transportation, on-site dining and a wide variety of social activities that promote social engagement and family connections, including:

  • Entertainment. Dancers, storytellers, singers and other performers often stop by to wow crowds at our communities.
  • Arts and Crafts. Residents at Tutera communities get crafty and use their skills ranging from knitting to watercolors and clay pot painting. Your loved one can hone a previous talent or explore a new one.
  • Games and Competitions.We help to keep your loved one’s mind and skills sharp with card competitions and trivia tournaments.

About Tutera Senior Living & Health Care

Tutera Senior Living & Health Care provides independent living, assisted living, memory care, Thrive memory care, rehabilitation and extended stay and a respite program. At every level of care, Tutera team members get to know each resident through their YOUNITE Story. The YOUNITE Story is a life history survey that shares preferences for your daily routine, food, hobbies, interests and highlights from the past.

For residents at all Tutera’s assisted living communities, the available services make it easy to maintain an active schedule. While services do vary by community, you can often expect:

  • Nutritious dining
  • Housekeeping
  • Landscaping
  • Flat-linen service
  • Maintenance
  • Scheduled transportation

Want to find a Tutera Senior Living community near you? Our location finder tool can help you do just that! Ready to schedule a tour? Have questions about our culture, our care or our communities? Contact us today!