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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on October 8th, 2013

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Activities Across the Generations...Enriching the Lives of Seniors

united methodist homes | assisted living | aging seniors | activities for seniors | the journey of aging | senior activities | Aging & Caregiving

Activities across generationsCelebrating Relationships!

Celebrated on the first Sunday of October, Intergeneration Day provides a great opportunity to celebrate relationships between seniors and younger generations. When most people think of intergenerational activities, they typically envision children and seniors together in that picture. We invite you to pause for a moment and expand that picture and remember that activities that bridge generational gaps reach out to a wide variety of different age groups. In honor of Intergeneration Day, think about how you can help connect your aging loved one with meaningful intergenerational experiences.

Making Connections

While some seniors may find themselves blessed with regular opportunities to connect with younger generations, many seniors could benefit greatly from these interactions. Aging seniors, especially those living at home alone, often feel very isolated. Many assisted living communities focus specifically on creating opportunities for senior residents to connect with others and do so through intergenerational programming. These programs often include partnerships with families, community organizations, church groups, schools and more and encourage relationship-building through activities, special events, and simple conversation. We have found that not only do these programs help to prevent loneliness and depression, but they also provide avenues for genuine friendships, wisdom-sharing, and mentoring that help seniors find meaning and purpose in their lives.

As a caregiver, helping your aging loved one connect with others can be difficult, especially when you are trying to manage doctor appointments, meals, laundry, and other household tasks for them. Consider visiting a local senior center to stay informed of monthly happenings or tour an assisted living community and explore the possibility of a trial stay, which would allow your loved one to connect with others on a daily basis.

Activities Across the Generations at UMH

Intergeneration Day - United Methodist Homes

At United Methodist Homes, we place great value on creating intergenerational experiences for our senior residents and younger generations. Our dedicated volunteers range in age from school-aged children (some even as young as 2 1/2) to high school students, to college interns and adults and even some seniors as old as 96 years of age! These volunteers work closely with our residents and staff leading activities, visiting with residents, recording life stories, performing music, assisting on day trips, making dreams come true through our Journey of Dreams program, sharing technology and more! Our busy schedule of holiday and special events always offers a wonderful opportunity for residents, families, staff, and friends to gather together for a celebration, whether it be our annual Wesley Village 5K Road Race, a Middlewoods Halloween trick-or-treat parade, a Crosby Commons Family Day Picnic, a Wesley Heights holiday sing-along, or a Foxbridge classic car show….the list could go on and on! We have also just recently begun to work with students from two local universities who are leading research projects at our Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center and our organization as a whole. While the goals of these projects are different, the projects are great opportunities for both our residents and the students.

For more information about our intergenerational activities and for some fun photos, check out our communities on Facebook!

Takeaway Ideas to Help Your Loved One Stay Connected:

  • If your loved one is blessed to have young children in their life but they maintain a long distance relationship, plan a time for them to chat together with the help of email, Skype, or Facetime.
  • Check out your local library for senior volunteer opportunities in the community that would interest your loved one. Encourage your loved one to volunteer or offer to volunteer with them.
  • Talk to the staff at your local church and explore intergenerational opportunities for ministry and other small groups. Churches have lots of opportunities for generations to connect with one another through youth events, children’s programs, support groups, and more.
  • Get to know your loved one’s neighbors and cultivate a relationship with them to open the door for casual visits and informal conversations.
  • When possible, bring your loved one along for school events, soccer games, concerts, and picnics to give them opportunities to enjoy conversation and good company with all ages.
  • Check with a local assisted living community and inquire about free events that are open to the public that your loved one might find interesting; an educational program, a musical performance, or luncheon.

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.