GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - As the population ages, there is a great potential for linking young and old people together through intergenerational programming.
According to Lisa Lea, YMCA Childcare Director at Generations Child Development Center at Porter Hills Village, Intergenerational Programming provides opportunities for the younger and older generations to interact and engage with each other in meaningful and purpose driven activities.
Through these interactions, the children:
- Show an elevated self-esteem.
- Have a better appreciation for older adults.
- Become accustomed to the resources older adults use in daily life like wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. These tools could be frightening to young children however when things become part of daily life there is a knowledge basis that becomes natural.
- Learn from the older adults sharing their life experiences and stories.
- In return, older adults to learn new things from children.
- Stimulates an awareness for technology and helping connect older adults to a new skill.
- The older adults benefit by volunteering time with young children which can improve health and avoid disengagement thus improving emotional support. Older adults want to remain productive and active in the community.
According to Lea, all of these relationships do not happen overnight but when it does happen it is truly a blessing to see.
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