Caring for the elderly is important for their well-being, but children don't necessarily understand its importance unless they see the adults in their lives prioritizing it. What some adults might not know is that elderly care is just as important for kids as it is for seniors!
Why Get Children Involved in Elderly Care?
The elderly sometimes become the forgotten generation when the busy lives of adults and kids come into play. Loneliness occurs in 43% of seniors, leading to an increased risk of declining health and death. However, experts suggest that getting young kids and seniors together regularly has benefits for both age groups.
According to New Stanford's research, the elderly can share wisdom that children don't yet have. Kids can learn a lot from their elders, including things that have happened in history and pointers for success. Similarly, children can share their enthusiasm, a youthful point of view, and socialization benefits with seniors.
How Children Can Help the Elderly
Whether you get your kids involved in helping their grandparents or you give assistance to seniors in a local nursing home, there are plenty of ways for a child's presence to benefit a senior, and vice versa.
1. Help Them Develop an Interest in Their Family History
How much does your kiddo know about your family tree? Learning from an elder in the family can be the best place to start, as they'll get a first-hand account of names, relationships, and fun family anecdotes that could never be found in a library or courthouse.
On your next trip to visit the grandparents, see if they can share what they remember about the family with your youngster. Suggest showing some old photo albums or hand-me-downs that give your child a glimpse into the family's past. It just might spark a new interest for your child to learn everything they can about how they came to be — and your senior loved one will feel important for being the one asked to share.
2. Volunteer at an Elderly Care Home
Volunteering teaches kids that helping and caring for others is the right thing to do. Contact an elderly care home to learn about volunteering opportunities as a family. You might be able to participate in exercises for the elderly or read books or play games with residents. Some homes might also need help leading activities.
3. Make Gifts for the Elderly
Handmade gifts can brighten up anyone's day. Jot down some ideas with your kids of gifts for the elderly you can make or gift baskets to put together. For example, a basket with a snuggly blanket, some books, and puzzle games can be perfect for seniors in nursing homes. Or, make handmade holiday ornaments, decorations for their homes, or knitted scarves or blankets.
4. Help an Elderly Neighbor
Do you have an elderly neighbor who lives alone? Offer to bring over dinner a couple of nights a week, mow their lawn on the weekend, or make a trip to the store to get items on their grocery list. Kids of all ages can help with different tasks! Even a quick check-in or phone call each day can show them you care.
5. Teach Them Technology
Kids are growing up in a digital world that's much different than the one elders grew up in. Your youngster can show off their skills while teaching a grandparent or elderly neighbor how to use a phone, computer, or tablet. The elder will likely appreciate learning something new, and your kiddo can feel more confident in their abilities.
Kids Helping Seniors (and Vice Versa!)
From making gifts for the elderly to visiting an elderly care home, there are several ways that you and your kids can get involved in the lives of seniors. The elderly will appreciate your child's time, thoughts, and generous actions, and your child will learn how fulfilling it can be to help others.