As a family caregiver, you may be aware of the importance of helping senior family members to maintain connections with the younger generations of the family. Seniors often enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, but sometimes find it difficult to do so. They may fear that grandchildren will be bored or they might have trouble getting out to see them. If your parent struggles to stay connected with younger generations, September is a good month to focus on helping your parent to spend more time with younger family members because it’s Intergeneration Month, a month designated for intentionally working on the connections between generations.
Intergeneration month began back in 1987 when a non-profit group called Fountain Institute formed a committee to learn more about intergenerational issues. After conducting research, the committee decided it was necessary to set aside time to intentionally foster connections between older and younger people. Intergeneration Day was internationally launched in 2000 and garnered a great deal of support worldwide from organizations. However, further research showed that families were not celebrating the day either because a single day was not enough time or because the day was too close to other established holidays. As a result, Intergeneration Day became Intergeneration Month in 2012.
Here are five ways for your parent to spend time with younger family members during Intergeneration Month.
1. Plan a Family Barbecue.
Throw a family barbecue in the backyard or at a park. Invite the entire family to bring a dish to pass and enjoy time together. Plan some outdoor games that your senior parent can play along with other family members, such as bean bag toss, ladder toss, horseshoes, or croquet. Family caregivers can assist seniors with playing games or help ensure they are included in conversations.
2. Play Video Games.
Just because your parent did not grow up with video games doesn’t mean they can’t learn to play! Lots of seniors enjoy playing video games with their grandchildren. Look for games that don’t have complicated controls and encourage the children to teach their grandparent how to play. Alternatively, family caregivers could spend a little time teaching the senior how to play the game before the grandchildren come over. Imagine their surprise when Grandma beats them at their own game!
3. Teach a Skill.
If your parent has a hobby like knitting or woodworking, they may enjoy teaching a grandchild how to do it, too. Children often love learning how to make things and your parent will gain a sense of accomplishment seeing their hobby passed down to a grandchild.
4. Go on an Outing.
Family caregivers can plan outings for seniors and grandchildren that both generations can enjoy. If a grandchild loves animals, take a trip to the zoo together. Grandchildren can show off some of what they know about their favorite animals and the fresh air will be good for everyone.
5. Read Together.
Small children love to be read to and will enjoy spending time with a grandparent and a book. However, if your parent has trouble reading because of vision problems, they might enjoy the activity in reverse! Grandchildren can share a favorite book by reading to their grandparent.
Whatever you choose to do during Intergenerational Month, the main thing is that you intentionally work on helping the generations to come together. Fostering good relationships during September could result in your parent spending more time with grandchildren throughout the rest of the year and for years to come.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Skokie, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.