Grandparent Helper: How Children Can Help Our Elderly
Caring for children can be a wholesome, yet tiring endeavor. The same can be said about caring for our elder loved ones. Caring for both children and our elders can be downright exhausting. But, it doesn’t have to be. There’s no need to keep our caregiver responsibilities separate and in fact, children can actually be a fantastic resource for helping you care for their grandparents. Kids love to interact and are full of questions and they can help maintain conversation with our senior loved ones.
Many seniors report feelings of loneliness or isolation and these negative feelings can have a serious impacts on mental health, and subsequently on physical health as well. That’s why socialization is so important for our seniors.
This is where children can be a great help. Encourage your children to talk to their elders and keep them company. One of the great things about kids is they usually love to talk and will generally go on and on about whatever is on their mind.
Hopefully the interaction sparks some joy in your seniors and they are able to share stories or insight with your children and likewise feel a sense of purpose in the interaction.
This interaction time is the perfect chance to sneak away and finish those last items on the to-do list, or just to take a moment for yourself.
Both seniors and children benefit greatly from mental stimulation and things like puzzles or brain-teasers are perfect activities for our elders to enjoy with children.
Whereas seniors require the stimulation to maintain their memory and reasoning skills
sharp, children also require the stimulation to begin developing and mastering their memory and reasoning skills.
It’s an amazing sight to see little tykes and seniors racking their brains over a puzzle and sharing their reasoning with one another. Our elder may see things in one manner, and the child is able to approach it from a novel perspective. This is a perfect way to share and exchange knowledge between generations.
Simple, household chores shouldn’t be your burden alone! Encourage your children to want to help tidy up their grandparents' spaces. Explain to them how important their role is in helping to maintain the cleanliness and order of their grandparents' space because they are unable to do so for themselves.
Believe it or not, children do enjoy small levels of responsibility and can feel a great sense of accomplishment when they know they’ve helped someone out.
To sweeten the pot, you can even create charts or trackers that show their progression throughout the week and maybe leading to a treat. Not only will this give them another incentive to help with things like the dishes, vacuuming, or laundry duties but it will also help to build routine and discipline.
Technology is one domain where kids really tend to outshine even the hippest of adults. From ipads, to phones, tvs, and computers, children tend to have a solid grasp of how these function and can be great teachers to their elders.
Maybe you can have your children walk their grandparents through a new app on their phone, or teach them how to apply filters to their calls so that the next time they share a call they can be extra silly. It’s important to front load the expectations of this activity with your child ahead of time. Let them know that their elder might not understand what they are trying to teach them on the first try. This is a perfect exercise to teach them a little empathy and have them practice their patience.
Explain to them that they should do their best not to get frustrated as this might hurt their grandparents’ feelings. You might even relate this learning exercise to something they may have struggled with themselves and have them remember what it felt like to not know.
Here at Christian Companions, we love to help.
We're a company that believes in the power of caregiving, and our caregivers are compassionate people who like to listen and assist. If you or a loved one are in need of in-home assistance in the Houston area, please don't hesitate to reach out to us today.