"I feel like I am young again, thank you", " I haven't painted since I was in grade school, I love painting" were just a couple of the lovely sentiments overheard by the team.
Recently, the PFYTO team had the honour of our first paint night date night series with some amazing seniors residing in an old age home in our community and what a great time we had together.
It was so nice to see these perfect strangers, ranging from 8 to 91 years of age laughing, smiling and sharing stories about there lives, even though it was clear, that we were all at different stages in life, it really did not matter one bit. We engaged seamlessly and ended up with some great masterpieces.
For some seniors, participating in inter-generational activities create the opportunity to spend time with children and youth, and the joy they bring is often the highlight of their day. Some research shows that seniors gain improved self-esteem and a feeling of usefulness within their communities and may also help them be more active, which can help with their mobility; and the chance to exercise their minds in different ways.
The youth were reinforced with appropriate manners, patience, tolerance, and encouraged to explore their curiosity while learning empathy and important social skills. They're learning how to interact with people who are much older and may need extra assistance or a more gentle approach while developing their leadership skills and making new friends.
I often read stories about elderly people suffering from loneliness and depression or dying of a broken heart and it truly breaks my heart. It's great to know that we are able to impact each other positively. There is so much value in the experiences of the elderly, the friendships being built are mutual and based on the basics. Honesty, fun, kindness and empathy.
If you have an elderly person in your community or maybe even your family that doesn't get to go out anymore or maybe has lost their spouse or friends and seems to be feeling down, reach out to them! It could be as simple as sitting and watching a t.v show with them or maybe sharing a sweet treat. Just the fact that you thought of them and took the time can brighten their day more than you can imagine. and the value in the smile you get in return for that simple kind gesture is not something you can measure.