This old adage has been ringing for generations. An elderly is truly a treasure at home and here’s why.
Older generations are able to share heritage, tradition and cultural values with younger ones. The seniors are rich with life experiences, and through them, family stories are kept alive. These stories foster a sense of belonging and identity, and help to build self-esteem in children.
Not only that, intergenerational interactions also offer opportunities for both young and old to learn new skills. The process of learning and transfer of skills give both a sense of common purpose. Most importantly, their connection helps children understand life and ageing, and invigorates the seniors.
It is observed that the residents at Orange Valley Nursing Homes often seem more cheerful after interacting with children. Creating meaningful connections between generations benefits both young and old. Here are 3 simple ways to do that:
1. Learn through play
Shared play experiences are the best way to learn new skills and build strong fulfilling relationships. Through play, both can pick up a new skill and in the process learn to communicate with each other.
73% of senior citizens in Singapore use a mobile phone to stay connected and surf the internet. Beside nostalgic board games, mobile game apps can also be a good way to play and learn between the two generations.
2. Create a common purpose through hobbies
For animal lovers, having or caring for a pet together can be a good way to bond. Building a kennel or cleaning an aquarium together can also be fun especially for children. This is a great way for children to learn empathy, patience and love. Additionally, pets can bring peace and joy to seniors.
Cooking a meal together for the family can also be a fun activity too. It is also a meaningful hobby that can bring people together especially in a food-centric nation like Singapore. Cooking is a life skill which is good to start at a young age. It is also a good way to share traditions and continue legacies.
There are many other hobbies to start together such as gardening, modelling, painting and singing, if caring for a pet or cooking is not among the favourites.
3. Take turns to tell stories
Everyone loves a good story. Fix a time for both generations to share stories or books they love. Reading provides a host of benefits. For the little ones, reading expands horizons. Taking turns to read also offers an insight into each other’s preference and thoughts. If the senior is illiterate, try taking out old photos and share stories of the past. This will also encourage curiosity and deeper understanding.
Seniors are generally delighted to see children, and love to bond with them. Orange Valley proactively creates opportunities for our elderly residents to engage with children. Here are some of our intergenerational activities:
- Since 2017, Nexus International School (Singapore) has been organising yearly visits for their students and staff to Orange Valley Nursing Home (Clementi).
- Since 2017, Woodgrove Primary School has been organising visits and inviting our Orange Valley Nursing Home (Marsiling) residents to the school for festive celebrations such as Chinese New Year and National Day.
- 2018 – Pre-schoolers were invited to perform at Orange valley Care Centre (Balestier) opening.
- 2019 – Pre-schoolers from PAP Community Foundation spent time with our residents from all branches on different occasions.
- 2019 – Pre-schoolers and their families were invited to a carnival at Orange valley Care Centre (Balestier).
- 2020 – Students from Woodgrove Primary School embarked on a digital intergenerational programme using video calls during Circuit Breaker with Orange Valley Nursing Home (Marsiling) residents.