If the last year has taught us anything, it is the importance of our community and our time together. While the new regulations were often challenging, when people discuss what they miss the most it is always their friends and family and spending quality time together. Even if we had been lucky enough to have been living with our immediate family, we still missed our extended family and friends. Extended family and friends provide valuable companionship, life experience and often brighten our horizons with their diverse interests and perspectives. The value of intergenerational community is priceless, as people of differing ages enrich our lives with the diverse knowledge that they have from their life stage. Just as children enrich our lives with the joy and laughter that they bring to an event, the elderly are able to pass on experience and wisdom within the activities that they enjoy. Finding activities that bring family and friends of all ages together allows us to share from our perspectives and deepen our relationships. There are many activities that intergenerational friends and family can do together and it really depends on you and your specific interests because the best activity is one that you feel passionate about. However, there are some general fun activities that everyone can enjoy!
Board games were very popular a couple decades ago and now they are coming back in style. While elders may remember playing board games in their home, it is actually possible to go to a board games café and play with your friends. If you do not have any good board games at home you can look up a local board game café and go out for a nice meal where you can choose your own board game from their extensive library. Board games are becoming more cool and on trend so even the most stubborn teenager may find a board game they like to play.
Heritage and Ancestry
Finding out your family history and hunting for clues to genetic ancestors has been all the rage over the past few years. Elders have often stated the value and impact of knowing your heritage, and recently the youth have caught on to the craze. By now everyone’s heard of ancestry websites where you can find out your genetic make-up, potential family members you have never heard of and a history of your great great great grandparents and what their lives may have looked like. This is a great activity to do for all ages as the elders can share their wisdom and their memories of the past and the youth can be excited about unearthing perhaps a family secret.
Cooking is a classic way for family and friends to get together and bond. It is also a great opportunity to hone your skills or learn something new. Most grandparents have a few secret recipes that they may be persuaded to teach to their children and younger kids love learning new skills and spending time with their family. Even teenagers and young adults are often innovative and creative as they often want to push the boundaries of what cooking can look like and try new things.
Special Day Trips
While a quiet day at home may be the idea of a good time for the grandparents, youths on the other hand love to explore. While we do not recommend a trip to the skate park, we do think that everyone can enjoy a day trip. A day trip can look like many things including going on a picnic to a local favorite park, going to the beach and playing in the water and sand, going to an art gallery or a museum and any kind of skill-based shop like learning how to make pottery or paint. It is a great idea to discuss as a family what your overlapping interests are. For example, the teenager may love art and drawing and so an art gallery may be a perfect way to pique their interest while also providing rich historical backgrounds which in turn may interest the elderly.
Volunteering and community service is a wonderful way to give back to your local community while also building precious memories with your friends and family. Often the elderly have a lot to offer with volunteering such as skills, expertise and a kind ear. This benefits the children too as they can use this volunteer service to gain insight about their local community needs and will help them build empathy. This also can be great experience for teenagers and young adults as they can put this on their resumes which will help them look impressive to potential post-secondary schools and employers. Learning wisdom from their elders while giving back to the community will broaden the horizons of the next generation.
There are so many opportunities for intergenerational activities. Spending time with many people of diverse ages allows us the opportunity to grow as a person and build lifelong relationships. You know your family and community the best so consider what interests you have and how you can find the authentic overlap with the activities that your friends like to do as well. If you have an elder that enjoys an activity that may not be accessible to them, consider hiring a personal care worker that will accompany and assist them during their family activities. This can be a great way to bond and enjoy the activities without the stress of feeling like a primary caregiver needs to attend to the elder. This also allows increased freedom for the elder and lets them get back to the activities and the people that they love.
We also recommend you check these related posts on family caregivers in our Home Care Services blog:
- The Challenges of a Multigenerational Household
- Keeping Up and Connecting with the Grandchildren
- Fun Activities to Do with Grandchildren
- Helping Grandchildren Understand Alzheimer