Working With Kids Proves Good For the Soul
Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all kids at heart, and who better to teach us the importance of play, and laughter than youngsters themselves? It’s no secret that engaging with children is good for our health, in fact, according to a study out of Berlin, grandparents involved with babysitting their grandchildren had a 37% lower mortality rate, including those who spent time with children in general. Whether someone lives alone, or near loved ones, these ideas for getting out into the community to connect with a child, are just a few of the ways to make a difference, and experience a greater sense of well being.
Multi-Generational communities like the 55+ community of Gavilan in Rancho Mission Viejo, are designed to give active adults their independence while providing an opportunity to spend quality time with the younger generation. Whether it's spending the afternoon crafting with the grandkids or enjoying cocktails on the veranda, these close-knit communities have a nostalgic feel not often experienced in traditional neighborhoods.
The Foster Grandparent Program founded by the Corporation for National and Community Service is a fantastic way for seniors who may not have grandchildren or family nearby to become a valuable part of a child’s life. Research has shown that students under the guidance of a mentor excel academically, and have better interpersonal skills than those left to fend for themselves. This rewarding program connects 55+ volunteers with children of all ages through a variety of activities from assisting with school studies to helping those with disabilities.
Becoming a Hospital Volunteer in a children’s hospital such as St. Jude connects volunteers with patients in an unforgettable way. Organizations such as these are ideal for seniors to not only give back to their communities, but to share their gifts, and talents. From providing caregiver relief, and greeting incoming patients, to participating in animal-assisted therapy, these facilities offer a wide variety of opportunities to get involved, and bring joy, and hope into a child’s life.
Even when we’ve grown beyond the age of make-believe and magic tricks, there’s still something inside of us that dares to dream. From boosting self-esteem, to reducing the risk of cognitive disease, there’s no pharmaceutical substitute for seeing the world through the eyes of a child.