Intergenerational relationships are friendships and familial dynamics that bridge numerous decades, and they hold a profound significance in the lives of seniors. Among these connections, the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren stands out as one of the most cherished and vital relationships seniors will experience throughout their lifetime.
These relationships grow and change as children get older, and seniors can enjoy every moment of watching their younger friends or family members through every stage of their life.
For instance, the relationship between a grandparent and a toddler has its own fun and activities, but seniors also enjoy spending time with young adults from a different generation.
What Are the Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships?
Intergenerational relationships have a variety of social and physical benefits. These connections can increase social interaction and combat loneliness and isolation in seniors, leading to an overall sense of well-being, improved moods and even longer lives.
Additionally, a recent study found that grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren just once a week could lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. The study tested more than 150 grandmothers and found that women who spent the most time with their grandchildren scored higher on the cognitive tests.
What Can Grandchildren Talk About With Their Grandparents?
The possibilities for intergenerational conversations are endless. Seniors can impart their wisdom to the younger generations – tips and tricks about parenting, marriage and more. Receiving tried-and-true advice from older generations can help guide the younger generation as they navigate their lives.
As a young adult, a grandchild could spend hours listening to their grandparents speak about life, reminisce about their own childhood or recount historic events that they have each experienced in their lifetime.
Celebrating the family’s history is an integral part of understanding who you are, as a child and as an adult. These conversations are valuable as they pass along pieces of family history and information that may otherwise be lost.
How Do Children Benefit From Spending Time With Grandparents?
Kids benefit from intergenerational relationships in a big way, too: A study at the University of Oxford found that children with strong grandparent relationships tend to have fewer emotional and behavior problems and are able to get along with their peers better. The study also found that grandmothers tend to nurture their grandchildren, and grandfathers serve as mentors for their grandkids, both bringing value to their grandchildren’s lives.
Psychotherapist Kimberly Agresta notes the enormous benefits of intergenerational relationships. Grandchildren look up to their grandparents in several ways, but when grandparents are involved, children develop an emotional bond with their grandparents and view them as a source of social support. “A child will feel that they have other adults, aside from their parents, who love and care about them in the same way, and this adds to their sense of stability and security.”
What Are Some Intergenerational Activities That Seniors Like to Do?
While most activities that are suitable for seniors can be adapted to include younger generations, here are a few favorite activities that are especially memorable to share with someone of a different generation:
- Cooking or baking together: Most seniors have at least one recipe that they have passed down to younger generations, perhaps one that their own parents or grandparents used to make for them when they were young. Cooking together will spark conversations and pass along timeless skills.
- Gardening: Whether you’re growing a full garden or simply potting a few plants, gardening can be a wonderful opportunity for learning and bonding between grandparents and grandchildren.
- Conversation: Seniors have a lot of wisdom crafted from decades of learning and life experiences. Intergenerational conversations can cover a broad range of topics and include wisdom, advice and family history.
- Family research and genealogy: Documenting elders’ stories and experiences is an excellent way to create a family keepsake of history to be passed on within the family.
- Technology lessons: While some seniors are technologically savvy, everyone could use some tips and tricks from the younger generations about how to use their electronics. This is a great way for both generations to teach and learn from each other.
- Arts and crafts: Creating keepsakes, scrapbooking or other creative outlets are excellent activities for grandparents and grandchildren. They can also evoke nostalgic memories while using family photos and craft materials that grandparents used in their own childhood.
No matter what intergenerational activity you choose to do, it can be adapted to meet mobility and accessibility needs. The time spent with each other can greatly improve the lives of both generations and create long-lasting emotional bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.
Activities at Tutera Communities
At Tutera Senior Living & Health Care, our communities are ready to help your loved one 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, 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.
Interested in learning more about all of the benefits of living in a Tutera community? Use our location finder to find a community near you or call us at 877-988-8372 to learn more about the options available in your area!