Monday, August 29, 2016

Ideas for Bridging Generational Gaps

About once a month, a local assisted living facility asks for community members to come sing and play music for the residents. Our homeschool group participated last year and my teens loved bringing their guitars or piano music and playing songs the residents recognized and could sing along with.

It's important to me to teach our kids that they can have a big impact on their communities right where they are and in every stage of life. I want them to have the opportunity to learn from and be influenced by people of all generations. We live in a community that, until recently, served as mainly a retirement community for many years. There are a lot of opportunities here for the youngers and olders to mingle. Ministering at an assisted living center or to other people in our community is just as edifying for my children as it is for the residents.  As they see the joy they can bring to people, it gives them the chance to build relationships with them.

There are lots of ways to bridge generational gaps between the young and the aged. The main thing is to get over any preconceived ideas about one another's interests and, instead, open up dialogue. The older generations love to talk one on one so the best way to find out what they're in to is just ask!

Here are some more ideas to help younger people enjoy the wisdom and influence of the older generations:

  • Take a nature walk together and collect items for a fairy pot. If the older person has difficulty outside, the younger person could bring all of the supplies to their room, open up a sunny window, and work on the project with them there.
  • Cards, board games, and puzzles are always fun and challenging. Pick games that aren't super complicated but will require all players to strategize. These sort of mind builders are beneficial to every age level.
  • Prepare a picnic to enjoy together in or out of doors. 
  • Bake cookies or make and decorate a cake together. One of my favorite early memories was when our neighbor, Alice, invited me over to make oatmeal cookies. I was only about six years old and I remember she's the one who taught me to sift flour!
  • Spend time looking at cloud or rock formations and use your imaginations to decide what they look like.
  • Do a simple sport like badminton, ping pong, or bounce a ball back and forth while visiting.
  • Visit a lake or river to go fishing or skip rocks in the water.
  • Work on a project like repairing a small engine or building a birdhouse. 
  • Have a conversation about something special like their father's tackle box or their mother's sewing box. 
  • Look through photographs together.
  • Do a service project together like preparing gifts or writing cards or making hats and blankets.
  • Find some old newspapers or magazines and have the older person talk about events or ads from their point of view.
  • Play with Legos or make a model car.
  • Cut paper dolls from magazines or make scrapbooks from pretty pictures. My great-grandma loved to do this with me when I was little and I have several of our scrapbooks made from seed catalogs.
No matter the activity, the important thing for all generations is to know that we have true friends and are being loved and respected for the valuable people we are. Spending time in real relationships is important for all ages.

I'd love to hear your ideas for bridging generational gaps. Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Great ideas that would be appreciated and build happy memories!

  2. My grandma taught me to bake. She is now in an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer's Disease. We love to visit her and reminisce about the past. She can't talk anymore, but I believe it sparks something inside her. These are some really great ideas for building happy memories rather than just going and sitting there staring at your loved one. (client)

  3. Great ideas to build memories for all. I remember as a Girl Scout having an adopted grandmother we called them at the nursing home and how she loved me to come and she would show me her dolls.


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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