Within the past decade, September has been deemed “Inter-Generation Month” – a time to intentionally connect people of all ages. At any given moment, we tend to have at least 3 – 4 generations represented in our buildings at Saint Anne Communities, but why stop there?! Bridging the generation gaps doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task; even the smallest of baby steps can be celebrated as monumental strides in the right direction. The trick is to creatively take advantage of common ground.
For example, even if an elder no longer has the ability to run, jump, and climb or push a little one on a swing, he or she would likely be very happy to be invited on a family outing to the park and enjoy watching youthful energy at play from the comfort of a park bench. Then again, you could easily enjoy an “outing” with a resident, without having to load him/her into your car. Both of our locations offer luxurious outdoor courtyards with comfortable, shaded seating areas, and room for little ones to safely explore. Some of our other favorite suggestions include:
1. Pet Play
Young and old, alike, tend to enjoy the company of “furbabies.” Beloved pets are welcome to visit Saint Anne Communities, as are children of all ages. Reminiscing about favorite pets while watching a child joyfully tumble around with a sweet new puppy can be a great way to connect. Stroking the soft, warm coat of a purring cat curled up on your lap can be very relaxing and soothing for folks of any age… unless, of course, you are allergic to cats. Thankfully, there are many other options and ideas for celebrating National Inter-Generation Month.
2. Sweet Treats
Baking a favorite recipe together can be another great way to bridge the generation gap. While not all personalities mesh well for making productivity in the kitchen possible, food definitely brings folks together. In addition to the goodies offered at our very own Randallia Roast Cafe (located just inside Door 13 on our Fort Wayne campus), outside treats are welcome at Saint Anne Communities. Feel free to bring in something yummy to share with a resident, or a whole group of residents. Bedside, activity rooms, the great outdoors, common areas inside, the Randallia Roast – there are many places available for comfortably enjoying a snack, meal, or refreshing beverage together.
3. Games, Games, Games
Card games, board games, guessing games, trivia games, dice games, rhythm games, and so many more find their niche in spanning generations. Learning how to play a new game together, or teaching each other to play a new game can be a wonderful way to spend time together. Don’t hesitate to adjust game-play as needed to allow everyone to participate. A good ol’ fashioned game of Go Fish! is a great way to get the little ones involved, too. Playing Pat-a-Cake (or, “Patty Cake,” depending on the part of the country from which you hail) with a baby sitting on your lap is a great way to find joyous giggles. Come to think of it, every game of Charades (or similar social games) my family has played throughout the years has ended because we were all laughing too hard to continue acting, let alone guessing. Genuine laughter has a special way of joining people of every age, religion, and nationality, and playing games together can be a wonderful resource for extracting those grins.
4. Story Time
Throughout history, stories have been fundamental in connecting people. The older generations certainly have numerous personal stories of the different phases of their lives, as well as changing trends noted in the mainstream culture throughout the decades. Some might even recall stories that their elders passed down. If more inspiration is needed, it could be fun to interview each other, compare goals, walk down memory lane hand-in-hand, etc. If the member of the prior generation was around during your childhood, share with him/her some of your favorite memories of time together. Which vacation together do you consider most memorable? Did a different one stand out more in his/her memory? Did he/she have a culinary specialty, as far as you’re concerned? Which character quality do/did you most appreciate about her/him? Where do each of you see the youngest in your group in 5, 10, or 20 years down the road? If you’re having trouble coming up with questions, a quick internet search may prove useful.
5. Story Time, Part II
In addition to Nursery Rhymes, favorite fables, tall tales, and beloved storybooks from childhood days, creating stories together can be a great way to connect. Decide who will start the story, then take turns; each adding one sentence at a time until someone finishes with “The End.” You might be surprised at how quickly these shared stories can take on a life of their own. A recording of the story could become a treasured keepsake and/or priceless gift down the road. On a grander scale, you might find that together you have authored a wonderful book!
However you choose to celebrate National Inter-Generation Month, remember to document the experience with photographs and/or video recordings that will last long beyond September of 2018. Feel free to comment below with more ideas, and share pictures on our Facebook page: @SACRandallia or @SACVictoryNoll
Time is precious; as are loved ones.