Adopt A Grandparent Program Helps Seniors & Teaches Kids The Value Of Volunteering

Published August 27, 2013

adopt-a-grandparentA major problem experienced by the seniors living in the Grant Park neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, when Linda Langstraat moved there 30 years ago, was crime, which many seniors experience in many other locations even today. One of the easiest ways to prevent future crime is to involve children in the lives of the elderly today. One way to do this is for Adopt-a-Grandparent programs to be implemented. Children and the elderly are paired together, and both benefit from their interactions. Children learn about things that no longer exist, and grandparents feel accomplished in being able to pass something down from their youth to the younger generation.

Children also benefit by learning about the medical aspects of caring for the elderly. Older children and teens have been known to gain hands-on experience, including assisting dialysis techs in the care of their ‘adopted’ grandparents. Others have helped nurses with taking vital signs, and have later worked as nursing assistants and home health aides. These are secure careers, which an increase in the number of people holding such careers will continue to decrease the level of crime experienced in an area. Grandparents really benefit when they realize that the children love to spend time with them and that the children are taking an interest in their health and well-being.

Many children enjoy spending time with their new grandparent so much that they request extra time outside of their program’s schedule. Depending on the facility, this may or may not be possible. Other facilities allow children and home health aides who are also volunteering to bring their pets with them, to brighten the residents’ day even more.
While many programs uniting children and the elderly in programs such as the Adopt-a-Grandparent started by Linda Langstraat have closed, many others find volunteering and otherwise interacting with the elderly to be a fun way to help out in their communities. Many nurses and home health aides do just that, and this increased interaction has been known to even benefit residents in assisted living facilities financially. Some volunteers have started fund raisers to purchase items for the residents they spend time with, including television sets, craft supplies and other items.

Volunteers of all ages benefit from their interactions with the elderly, learning many things they otherwise would not be able to experience. These experiences include knowing they have helped someone else just by their presence. This increases their self-confidence, and also their self-esteem. Those who feel better about themselves and their abilities often find it much easier to accomplish more with their own lives.

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