(Written by Abigail Grabein) A couple of times during the school year the local 5th grade class goes to an assisted living to volunteer their time with the seniors by playing games and doing other activities with them.
The children thoroughly enjoy their time spent putting together puzzles, playing Bingo and making arts and crafts with the residents of the assisted living. The children enjoy that they get an afternoon off from school to go and “play” with the seniors, but what they don’t know is how much the seniors look forward to the kids coming for an afternoon.
Seniors Enjoying the Company of Children
The residents of the assisted living anticipate with excitement the days when the local 5th grade class comes to spend an afternoon with them. They enjoy getting to know the children and often treat them as if they were their own grandchildren. Some of the residents play games with the kids, some read to the kids and others just enjoy a simple conversation with them.
Having children come to the assisted living gives the residents a chance to instill their years of knowledge and wisdom in the little ones. Most often the children don’t realize that they are not just getting an afternoon off from schoolwork, but learning valuable life lessons from people who have seen all kinds of life. Like any grandparent would do, many of the residents talk about what the children are learning in school.
Whether it is history, reading or math, they always have some insightful piece of information for the 5th graders. These afternoons give the residents a chance to feel a sense of purpose and importance. By sharing their knowledge and stories, they feel good about themselves.
On the other side, the children are learning more than what they bargained for. From history lessons to communication skills to learning how to treat people with respect no matter their age or disability, this group of youngsters is gaining tools to help them be successful in life.
With both groups gaining some kind of purpose, it is a joy to watch them interact with each other. Not many people would have guessed how much of an impact a group of 5th graders have on residents in the assisted living. It just goes to show that no matter your age or stage in life, you are never to old or young to learn something new or share something of great value.
About the author: Abigail Grabein works for Autumn Grove Cottage a family run Alzheimer’s Care Facility as a community manager.