The 10 Benefits of Connecting Youth and Seniors
While soda fountains may be a thing of the past, there still seems to be a magical nostalgia centered around the local ice cream shop. On a recent visit to a new local custard shop here in Tampa Bay, I was struck by two things. The first was the fact that just like days gone by, families were sitting at tables enjoying their frosty desserts and yet each of these family tables was missing a grandparent. Do grandparents not take their grandchildren for ice cream anymore? Then, a new scene caught my eye. There were several tables of two, in which sat senior couples quietly enjoying their treats, and before each elderly couple left the shop they turned to the table of young ones near them and spoke to the children. Both the children and seniors seem to light up at the sight of each other.
In the recent past, extended families often lived within the same home or very close to each other; however, this does not occur as frequently today. Even though people live healthier, longer lives, they expect to be self-sufficient. The trend in recent decades is for older Americans to live alone. As a result of this desire for independence, either by nuclear families or older adults, only one in eight single elderly adults now lives with extended family. The paradox is that although children today are more likely to have healthy, active grandparents, they are also less likely to know their grandparents well or visit with them frequently.