Providing an opportunity for aging parents or spouses to spend time with the grand kids is a terrific benefit for everyone. Typically, when younger children and teens introduce activities for older adults, the child’s enthusiasm and zest is appreciated by their grandparents.
We know that older adults who spend time with other generations remain more active and engaged than older adults who surround themselves with same-age peers. Creating opportunities where children feel like they are contributing and where seniors are comfortable with certain activities can take a bit of planning, but the benefits are endless.
Lots of opportunities
Some youths may balk at spending quality time with aging parents or grandparents because they may not know what to do with their grandparents. Remember, a child’s idea of what is helpful may not be the same as an adult’s. Many aging parents and grandparents enjoy simply being around their young loved ones – even if they do nothing more than chat a little bit.
If a child wonders what he or she can do with Uncle Fred or Grandma, this simple list can help:
- Read. Just because senior eyes may not be as sharp as they once were doesn’t mean that older ones don’t still enjoy getting involved in a good book. Young ones can help seniors by reading aloud – and at the same time can improve their own reading skills and expand their vocabularies.
- Play games. Engaging aging parents and grandparents in a lively game of cards or a favorite board game is an excellent way to pass the time, and one that both parties can enjoy. Youths may also take the opportunity to share some of their favorite online games or game apps and introduce senior loved ones to some new gaming experiences.
- Go for a walk. Young bones are excellent at helping somewhat older bones get some much-needed exercise. A simple walk around the block or a longer jaunt through a park can help all get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Be a cook’s aid. Children can help out in the kitchen to produce a delicious meal that both parties can enjoy. Older teens can do the grocery shopping or other errands.
- Write letters. Young ones can help seniors catch up on correspondence – whether via snail mail or electronic means – and therefore help that older ones stay in touch with friends they don’t see as much anymore. Maintaining good social contact is crucial to senior health.
- Help pay bills. A youth who spends time helping Grandfather paying the bills each month is a youth who is learning organizational skills and strengthening basic mathematical muscles as well.
- Just talk. Carrying on a simple conversation is nothing to be sneezed at. Seniors will enjoy the activity, and younger ones may learn some surprising and valuable new information.
- Just be there. Sometimes, a person wants nothing more than to be in the presence of a relative whom they love.
Or, seek out common interests. October in Houston is a great time for county fairs, city festivals, picnics in the park, or other outings.
Involving children and youths with aging parents may take a bit of planning and coaching in the beginning, but the rewards for both parties can be substantial.