The Connection Between Kids and Seniors

Retired people often have lots of discretionary time.  Many of them choose to live in an assisted living facility for the conveniences it provides.  They can be assured that they are in a safe and secure environment.  They also have meals provided, get housekeeping services, and often have their laundry picked up and delivered.   All these things are good, but they do leave lots of spare time.  

For seniors who live in an assisted living facility, there are many activities and outings available.  They will certainly find a number of activities that they will enjoy.   But the one type of activity that is in scarce supply is activities that includes children.    Many seniors believe that raising children is their most important accomplishment in life.  Although they enjoy assisted living, they may miss the interaction with children.

These days everyone else is busy with jobs and tasks.   They hardly have time to relax.   Kids are no exception.  As kids have tons for homework are involved more and more in extra-curricular activities, they hardly have time to be a kid.  And yet, when they do have the opportunity to interact with seniors, it’s a beautiful thing to behold.  
There is a special bond between a child and a grandparent.   As stated by Charles and Ann Mores, “A child needs a grandparent, anybody's grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world”.  Rudolph Guiliani is quoted as saying “What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance.  They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life”.
So how can we help unite our seniors with our children?  Luckily, there are a number of ways.  Children can be encouraged to participate in community activities that include seniors, such as a local adopt-a-grandparent program.  This symbolic “adoption” changes the lives of our seniors as they begin receiving regular visits, phone calls, and opportunities to interact with the children.   The kids who volunteer for these programs benefit greatly from the interaction with their “adopted” grandparent.
Kids can also consider doing volunteer work at a local assisted living center.  One benefit of this arrangement for both the child and the senior is that the activities directory of the facility is able to match children to activities that are age appropriate and of benefit to the seniors in the assisted living facility.  My own grandchildren have done volunteer work at a local assisted living facility.  In one case, they helped decorate the dining area for a holiday party.   Many seniors in residence delighted in watching as the children put up the decorations.  In another facility, they once hosted a tortoise race, with senior cheering for the tortoise of their choice.   Everyone enjoyed the activity.  One young man actually served desserts and filled water glasses in the dining room at an assisted living facility.    He was the favorite waiter of the day!  In all cases, it was enjoyable for the children as well as the seniors.

For other suggestions of volunteer activities for kids, check out the Kids Activities site in your area:

California Arizona
Inland Empire Kids Activities Phoenix Kids Activities
Los Angeles Kids Activities  
Orange County Kids Activities Texas
San Diego Kids Activities Houston Kids Actiities
San Francisco Bay Area Kids Activities  
Santa Barbara Kids Activities  
Santa Maria Kids Activities  
Ventura Kids Activities  


It's a good idea to learn as much as possible about all the assisted living options that are available in your area. They could be called Residential Living Facilities, Adult Foster Homes, or Home Care Centers in your location. Everything you read and each facility you visit will help you to get closer to determining your own need. There are adult family homes, retirement communities, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other options. Learning about the costs of assisted living and how to cover those costs is also very important. With all these options, and maybe because there are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. There's nothing wrong with getting help.

A few of the services offered by assisted living placement services are:
1) Help Determine if Assisted Living is Right for You
2) Determining the level of care needed
3) Locating the home or facility best suited to your needs
4) Helping you to negotiate the lowest possible price for you and your family
5) Helping you with finanacial planning so that your resources can be used wisely to cover the costs involved
6) Ensuring that the facility you choose is able to handle any special needs that you may have.

There are placement agencies that will be pleased to help you sort through the maze and make the best choice for your loved one. This is their field of expertise and they are happy to share the knowledge they've gathered with you. A few of our favorites are A Place For Mom, Elderlink, and Assisted Living. In Southern California and Southern Arizona, one of our favorites is Assisted Living Placements. Most referral agencies (sometimes called placement agencies) will provide their services free of charge.