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Bridging Generations Through Play

By November 4, 2021No Comments

Did you know that in a survey conducted by the Eisner Foundation results indicated: 

  • 53% of people 18 and over said that aside from family members, they rarely spent time with people much older or younger than they are. 
  • 93% of those surveyed felt that children and youth could benefit from building relationships with elders in their communities
  • 91% felt that elders could benefit from these multi-generational relationships as well. 
  • 77% of respondents wished there were more opportunities in their own communities for different age groups to meet and interact. 
  • Nearly half of the elders reported feeling occasional loneliness and 19% reported frequent loneliness.

 

Connection with others gives us a sense of purpose as we help one another thrive, making socialization vital to our wellness. Loneliness and social isolation can pose a huge health risk, especially to the senior population. 

Creating more spaces that provide opportunities for intergenerational relationships supports the wellness of the seniors in your community while providing a multitude of activities to benefit the mental and emotional health of everyone.

 

8 Ways to Create Opportunities for Intergenerational Relationships In Your Community 

 

While there are everyday activities you can do at home and in your senior care facility (such as baking, scrapbooking, painting, etc.), here at InspiredPlay, we love creating innovative designs that inspire creative approaches to everyday fun. So, let’s talk about how to create intergenerational environments outside. 

Community events you can organize to encourage intergenerational relationships are: 

Picnics at the Park 

Ages young and old enjoy having a meal with their community, especially on a nice day at a place with a view. Host a community picnic game where families and organizations bring their picnic setups to reconnect with familiar faces and meet new ones. 

 

Senior-Youth Mentorship Days

We all know that there is much we can learn from our elders, but we often overlook how much younger generations can teach older generations. Organize Senior-Youth Mentorship Days in your community where a youth is paired with a senior; the youth will have the opportunity to learn anything they want for their Senior Mentor for 30 minutes, and the senior will have the same opportunity with their Youth Mentor.

Youth may ask their Senior Mentors about the way things were when they lived, what they’ve learned about love, or what their favorite recipes are. Seniors may ask their Youth Mentors about how to troubleshoot a tech problem, what the heck is going on in pop culture, or to engage in an activity with them. 

 

Chess Tournaments

Family, friends, and caregivers of all ages can benefit from regular chess tournaments. Playing chess helps improve memory, elevates creativity, encourages stronger planning skills, offers protection against the development of dementia, can improve the symptoms of ADHD, and can help with panic attacks. Keep the tournaments open to all ages and host chess coaching sessions to incorporate Senior-Youth Mentorship as well!

 

Family Olympic Events

The Olympics are always known to draw people together. 

Host an annual Family Olympics competition in your community with events curated to support all ages and abilities, being sure to include a mix of solo and team events in the competition. 

The Family Olympic events can also be great fundraisers to build innovative spaces in your community for even more intergenerational fun.

 

Ways to Make Your Environment Safe and Enjoyable for All Ages

 

The biggest challenge in designing areas suitable for all ages (think young children, teens, adults, and elders of all ages in one space) is ensuring the space is interesting enough to keep busy minds entertained, comfortable enough that all ages can find a place to sit and enjoy the community, and safe enough to not have to worry about falls. 

Provide plenty of shade. 

Whether it be the sun beaming on a warm day or mist drizzling from a cloudy forecast, high-quality shades that protect from harsh weather conditions are essential to an intergenerational community environment to ensure sensitive skin is protected from the sun and no one has to sit in wet conditions. 

 

Create Comfortable Seating Areas

Bodies young and old appreciate having a comfy place to rest their feet, especially after a fun day at the park. Installing outdoor furniture that reduces the risk of falling over the edge will keep everyone safe while enjoying a nice quiet sit outdoors. 

 

Incorporate Innovative Play Ideas 

High-risk accidents, such as slips and falls, are all considered with InspiredPlay designs. We have materials such as specialty flooring with waterproof application and soft turf rubber matting to minimize accidents with easy-to-clean surfacing. 

Play structures padded for comfort and injury prevention can lead to endless possibilities for environments with built-in obstacles courses designed with all ages and abilities in mind. Bet that Family Olympic competition is sounding even more awesome now, huh?

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of ways to create more opportunities for intergenerational play in your communities. If you have any questions about custom designs for your space, please visit https://inspiredplay.com/contact/

 

Stay playful, and always inspired, friend.