This is a guest post by Krisca Te.
Caring for the elderly is one of the most important and fulfilling things that we as a society can do.
Taking care of the generation that took care of us is a lot more than simply paying back the favor; it can also be a mirror into our futures and a comforting reminder that life will not pass us by.
Teaching children the importance of caring for the elderly can not only provide benefits to the elderly themselves, but also to the children that are spending time with them, and to the adults that are passing on those important values.
Teaching Children Important Values
Spending time with the elderly can teach young children important values, such as compassion, caring for others, and a sense of responsibility toward a larger community. The elderly, whether they are family members or those in care facilities, have a lifetime of knowledge to pass on to a younger generation, while the children themselves have an abundance of joy and wonder toward life to pass on to the older generation.
Watching young children interact with an elderly person can be an enriching experience for parents. Those ties between the old and new generation can create a lasting effect on a young child or teenager, and can create a bond or sense of value that can last a lifetime.
Teaching our children to care for the elderly at a young age will create compassionate adults that will be ready to lend a helping hand as the elderly population continues to grow over the coming years.
Improved Health for Grandparents
Young children are full of vitality, and they may pass some of that to elderly people that they visit. Studies have shown, that simply through social interactions with youngsters, older adults can see an improvement to their cognitive abilities, vascular health, and even their expected life span. Not bad for a visit to Grandma’s!
One recent study even showed that it can help some of the hardest to reach elderly: Alzheimer’s patients. A psychiatrist at the University of Arizona named Sharon Arkin ran a clinical program combining exercise with visits from students. The patients displayed stabilization to their cognitive decline, and it helped improve their moods.
Elderly Population Continues to Grow
According to the US Census Bureau, there will be more than 80 million elderly adults living in the United States within the next 35 years. The number will be more than double of the current population, which has nearly hit the 40-million mark.
Teaching our next generation of children the importance of caring for the elderly will not only provide them with emotional and value-based rewards, but it may also serve as potential job skills, since it could create a new generation interested in becoming caregivers to fill jobs in the growing industry.
Caring for the elderly can be difficult and requires a certain type of person that has the patience and passion to do it. Teaching our children at a young age to appreciate and care for the elderly can only be beneficial to everyone involved, and will help create passionate adults who understand the value of elderly care in the years to come.
Author Bio: Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and aged care courses. When not working, you can find her on Google+.