September 30, 2014
There may be a secret to staying youthful, or at least young at heart, as we age. Kids! We often hear that caring for children keeps us young, at least in theory, but children may also help older adults remain healthy. Multigenerational companionship has been shown to relieve depression, increase exercise, and reduce medication usage in older adults. However, with more adults that have either no grandchildren or grandchildren that live far away, this intergenerational exchange can be difficult for some to obtain. Organizations have taken note and created some interesting opportunities for youth and older adults to play.
William Thomas, founder of The Eden Alternative, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating quality of life for the elderly, believes that being in the presence of children helps older adults thrive, build resilience, and avoid depression. Health insurance provider Humana also believes in the power of youth and healthy aging. Humana has worked with non-profit KaBoom to build and sponsor multigenerational playgrounds with equipment suitable for all ages that can combine the benefits of physical activity and mingling with children in order to maximize the benefits of exercise and to help motivate older adults to exercise.
Learn more about how children hold the key to better health and aging in this article from US News.