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Why children and the elderly benefit from time spent together

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It doesn’t sound like they would be well-matched as companions, but time spent between children and the elderly shouldn’t be underestimated. According to recent research, a companionship between children and the elderly is mutually beneficial.

An Australian study showed that shared play between older individuals and in child care settings can have results that are so impressive, there is even talk of intergenerational shared care programs!

This trailer for UK television documentary ‘Old Peoples Home for Four Year Olds’ gives a taste of the impact of encouraging interactions between the youngest and oldest in our communities:

Children and the elderly: the benefits

Let’s consider the many benefits of this intergenerational companionship to the older people in aged care facilities:

Benefits for older individuals

Enhanced mood
An opportunity to learn something new
Improve physical capability and movement
More enjoyment of life
Dementia symptoms lessened

Benefits for children

A patient listening ear
A lifetime of stories to hear
Gives children an insight into life’s ageing process
An opportunity to learn something new
Supporting bonds between children and the elderly

You can bring these benefits into many aged care facilities by simply creating a partnership with a local child care centre.

For example, invite a local child care centre or kindergarten to come and sing Christmas carols for (or with) the residents at your aged care facility. Many centres love to do this and there is no doubt that both children and your residents will reap the rewards of this time spent together.

Outside of the festive period, invite children from local child care centres to an hour or two of story telling, drawing, a puppet show or any number of intergenerational-friendly activities.

Facilitate the connections between young and old and you will see the difference in those in your care.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25292218

https://theconversation.com/combining-daycare-for-children-and-elderly-people-benefits-all-generations-70724

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