If you’re a family caregiver, summertime can often be overwhelming. You spend a lot of time looking after your parents and now your own children are home as well. Planning activities for everyone to do together can reduce a lot of stress and will benefit the whole family. Intergenerational Activities, otherwise known as Multigenerational Activities, can improve the quality of life for older adults and can teach younger generations a stronger appreciation for aging and the elderly. The social and mental stimulation created by these activities is truly beneficial for aging minds, however, it’s the sheer enjoyment of being with family that we’re hoping will brighten their mood and yours. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
Keep reading for our suggestions on how to introduce intergenerational activities to your family. If you have ideas of your own, please be sure to share them by liking and commenting on ourFacebook page!
Celebration Square Events
Provided by the City of Mississauga
Free “Fresh-Air Fitness”
Throughout the summer, the city of Mississauga is hosting free “Fresh-Air Fitness” classes on Wednesday evenings, from 7 – 8pm in Celebration Square! The classes are meant for anyone and everyone; from toddlers to grandparents. Because the classes cycle through a variety of fitness styles, it’s a perfect intergenerational summer activity for the whole family. Haven’t you wanted to try Zumba? Yoga? Have you even heard of Ginga before? These classes are a great way to get the family together outside and participating in something healthy and new!
The next class scheduled is “Ginga” on August 3rd! Click here to see the season’s schedule which began in late May and will finish at the end of August. Some of the Home Instead Senior Care office staff have participated in Boot Camp and Zumba classes and they definitely enjoyed themselves. “That pressure or insecurity you feel in a gym is completely gone,” says Marie, “there are people of all different ages and skills there, just having fun outside! If you need to take a break you do.”
Yet another free event held in Celebration Square, provided by the City of Mississauga! Movie nights are held on Thursday evenings from 8 – 10pm, and are meant for the entire family. Similar to Fresh-Air Fitness, Movie nights began in late May and will run until the first week of September. Flicks like “The Martian” and “Star Wars” have already played and there are even more good ones coming up! “The Peanuts Movie” is coming up on August 4th, and “Zootopia” is scheduled for August 11th. You can view the entire schedule here.
Grab some blankets, pack some popcorn and bring the whole family for this intergenerational activity! You’ll be joining neighbours and friends under the stars at Mississauga’s biggest outdoor theatre.
Sunday Dinner Pledge
It’s a tradition that many modern families are often too busy to keep alive; Sunday Dinners.
A multigenerational connection is important for strong family ties. Sharing a meal is the simplest way to start bringing everyone together. You might be thinking, “where am I going to find the time to plan a big dinner?!” Caregiverstress.com has put together easy-to-follow guidelines in this article entitled, “Easy Ways to Pull of Sunday Dinners as a Family”. One of the first things they suggest is to start with a simple menu plan; it might include family favourites or recipes that could be made ahead of time. Thinking Sunday’s won’t work out for your family? Try any other day of the week – start off with once a month and move into weekly get-togethers.
Home Instead conducted a survey and found that 61% believe their senior relatives eat better when they dine with family and 92% feel that eating with family members is a great way to reconnect. In addition, 87% of those surveyed think that sharing sit-down meals will help their loved one deal with loneliness.
Ryan Jershy, the Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care in Windsor, was interviewed by CBC News and stated that, “almost ¾ of families with senior loved ones near by only get together for special occasions or events.” His Home Instead, as well as ours and many others are trying to encourage families to get together more often than just holidays and special events.
Stuck inside on a rainy day? This is the perfect time for planning intergenerational game day! Digging out those classic board games or even trying out your children’s video games is a sure way to keep the whole family entertained and laughing nonstop (maybe some healthy competition too!).
Lifestyle habits that older adults can adopt to maintain their health are things like cognitive activity, physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, and social engagement. Introducing new games for them to try, like video games, touches on two of those recommended habits: cognitive activity and social engagement (diet and nutrition too, if you put out some healthy snacks!). Your children are the professionals here! As they teach grandpa or grandma how to play, they might not even realize how much they’re helping to improve their grandparent’s brain health!
These are just some of the things you could do with the family – caregiverstress.com has also put together a few articles that give great suggestions too. This article, entitled, “Intergenerational Activities to Help Reduce Summertime Stress” has a variety of activities you could incorporate into your summer plans. Don’t forget, visit us on Facebook to share your own Intergenerational Activity ideas or post some photos of your family having fun together! We would love to see what you’ve come up with.
Think Home Instead Senior Care is right for your family? Call us today for a free consultation. If you’re living in the Mississauga area, call 905.276.2273. If you’re in the Etobicoke area please phone us at 416.276.2200.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
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