Involving the Kids and Grandkids in Senior Care

September 22, 2014
Younger children can help aging parents in many ways.

Younger children can help aging parents in many ways.

Aging parents and spouses, like most senior citizens, enjoy spending time with their younger relatives. Unfortunately, children are often so busy with school work, sports, hobbies, activities, and just hanging out that they forget about their older relatives. However, there are valuable reasons to remind them to spend quality time with their grandparents.

Lots of opportunities

Many youths balk at spending quality time with aging parents or grandparents in part because they don’t really know what they can do. Remember, a child’s idea of what is helpful may not be the same as an adult’s. Many aging parents and grandparents enjoy simply being around their young loved ones – even if they do nothing more than chat a little bit.

If a child wonders what he or she can do with Uncle Fred or Grandma, this simple list can help:

  • Read. Just because senior eyes may not be as sharp as they once were doesn’t mean that older ones don’t still enjoy getting involved in a good book. Young ones can help seniors by reading aloud – and at the same time can improve their own reading skills and expand their vocabularies.
  • Play games. Engaging aging parents and grandparents in a lively game of cards or a favorite board game is an excellent way to pass the time, and one that both parties can enjoy. Youths may also take the opportunity to share some of their favorite online games or game apps and introduce senior loved ones to some new gaming experiences.
  • Go for a walk. Young bones are excellent at helping somewhat older bones get some much-needed exercise. A simple walk around the block or a longer jaunt through a park can help all get some fresh air and sunshine.
  • Be a cook’s aid. Children can help out in the kitchen to produce a delicious meal that both parties can enjoy.
  • Write letters. Young ones can help seniors catch up on correspondence – whether via snail mail or electronic means – and therefore help that older ones stay in touch with friends they don’t see as much anymore. Maintaining good social contact is crucial to senior health.
  • Help pay bills. A youth who spend time aiding grandfather in getting his bills all paid each month is a youth who is learning organizational skills and strengthening basic mathematical muscles as well.
  • Just talk. Carrying on a simple conversation is nothing to be sneezed at. Seniors will enjoy the activity, and younger ones may learn some surprising and valuable new information.
  • Just be there. Sometimes, a person wants nothing more than to be in the presence of a relative whom they love.

Involving children and youths with aging parents may take some doing, but the rewards for both parties can be substantial.

Writer, Craig Butler

Craig Butler has been writing on a wide range of topics for more than fifteen years. As the National Communications Director for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, Craig regularly writes on a range of health and medical topics. Among the many projects he has written for the Foundation is the Cooley's Anemia Storybook, a collection of original short stories for children with the blood disorder Cooley's Anemia. His freelance work has ranged from reviewing moves and CDs to creating entertainment-related stories about baldness, to creating text for comic strips. Craig looks forward to having a dialogue with you about senior care and issues of concern.

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