Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
There are many residents who have family who visit them on a regular basis and are able to get the intergenerational experience naturally. These experiences are enriching to the residents’ lives. They are also beneficial for the family members. The resident is able to interact with younger children, teenagers, and young adults. The younger generation is able to learn about the experience of aging and to be more comfortable with the elderly.
However it is very important that residents not only interact with their family but also get to be a part of the community. There are also residents who do not have family in the area or do not have family at all. Community interaction is particularly important for these residents. Intergenerational activity should be included into programming at least once a month.
Residents respond well to toddlers and younger children so an activity including them is ideal. Inviting parents within the community that have small children to a community is a great way to include them. The children can come with their parents and play with the residents. Offering coffee, juice, and healthy snacks for the children and adults is warm and inviting. Encourage residents to play with the children and provide appropriate toys and games. This will be a great experience for both the resident and the children.
Preschool age children also interact well with residents. At this age children like to perform. Creating an event where they can perform a sing a long or a play for the residents would be enjoyable for everyone. You could also invite a performer for the residents and children to watch together such as a magic or puppet show.
Elementary level students can also provide a different experience with residents. At this age children are learning important reading, writing, and math skills that some residents are masters at. Set up a time for students to come after school and work with the residents in subjects they are struggling with. Another great opportunity for activity would be inviting the children to come read books to the elderly. Residents benefit from the interaction because they feel important and helpful while children benefit from learning social skills with the elderly and are proud of their learning accomplishments.
Another great program that works well with schools is the “adopt a grandparent program”. This is an ongoing program where a couple of students visit one or two of the same residents every week. This enables them to create a bond. This activity is dependent on good planning with the community along with the school. The students can create questions to ask the residents or topics in history that they would like to discuss with the resident. At the end of the program the student can write a report about their experience and present it to their classmates.
For high school level students community service is a requirement they must achieve before graduating. Students can be contacted individually or within a group or club to volunteer with residents. Church groups can also be a good source for teenage volunteers. These teenagers can be scheduled to help with events, visiting a resident one on one, or creating their own events within the community. Again these are good experiences for residents and students in building self-esteem and intergenerational relationships. Lifelong friendships can be formed between teenagers and residents.
All ages of children need to be prepared and educated to work with the elderly. Talk about the aging process and what it is like to be “old”. Important things to cover are an understanding of memory loss and the possibility of death. Be sure to know all of the schools in your area and make a list of possible programs and volunteer opportunities. Developing good relationships with schools and counselors will help programs in the future. Planning and preparing is the best way to having good intergenerational programming for residents.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Baby Boomers are a huge cohort of people who were born between 1946 and 1964. The oldest of this cohort are beginning to retire and contemplate how they will spend this time. This generation is known for its spunk and tenacity. Baby Boomers are not afraid of change and will do what it takes to implement it. They are commonly known for being optimistic, independent, and industrious, being active in social causes and bettering themselves. They are more interested in health and technology than any other generation that has preceded them.
The Baby Boomers take this same outlook and values with them through retirement and this stage of their life. They are not going to want to be stagnant and stop what they love to do. They may not even want to retire. Whatever it is that they do with this stage of their life they will want to choose and have full control over as they have with the other stages of their life. When programming for the baby boomers here are some things that should be considered:
- The names of activities and programs have to be modernized so they sound current and appeal to their interests and values.
- Activities will have to be purpose driven and have a meaning. Baby Boomers will want to feel as though they are contributing something and be able to fully understand its significance.
- Programming will need to be flexible and not be on a rigid schedule. Commitment driven large group activities will not be appealing but rather smaller spontaneous group activities. Baby Boomers are always up for changes and they want their activities to be the same
- Facilities will have to adapt to boomers wanting more amenities. These amenities will need to be geared towards the personal preferences of each Boomer.
- The music that is used should be from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.
- Activities that give back to the community and make a positive impact will also be successful. Things like recycling committees, mentoring, volunteering etc. will make the Baby Boomers feel useful.
- Health driven activities such as organic cooking classes, exercising, stress management classes, etc. will appeal to the Baby Boomers
- New opportunities for learning such as educational classes and guest speakers will be engaging
- Baby Boomers have been the reason for the culture change movement and this must be kept in mind when activities and programs are being made. They must be person centered not centered on the facility or establishment.