There are many different ways to include residents in activities. I recently discovered the benefits of encouraging young volunteers from local schools into the home. Our residents are keen to meet the youngsters and they in turn are eager to learn from their elders.
By forging inter-generational relationships, new friendships are formed between like minded people at the opposite ends of the age ladder. Young people are naturals when it comes to breaking down barriers and they interact easily with the elders that are interested in them.
The residents look forward to the children visiting and the students feel rewarded when they see that they are indeed making a difference to the life of an older person. The young people also learn new skills, such as empathy, boosting their confidence as they develop these relationships. When the children learn that some of the residents have little or no contact with younger generations our young volunteers can appreciate that they are brightening the lives of these older people.
Each week we do different activities, bringing old and young alike together.
Residents are intrigued to know what we will be doing when the youngsters arrive and always look forward to their visits. They like to sit and chat and ask what the students are studying at school. It is lovely to see old and young generations together engaged on conversations that are meaningful to both.
After having several successful volunteer groups from the local schools we now get invited to watch their school performances and to spend an afternoon within the school which is a great way to show our appreciation and support to them for their hard work and commitment.Age discrimination plays a big factor in social isolation and exclusion and i would definitely recommend inter-generational activity with a care home to combat this as benefits are so rewarding for all. By approaching the local schools and colleges in your area you will not only be forging new relationships but you will be offering social inclusion to all by ‘Bridging the Age Gap’.