Thursday, July 21, 2016

Intergenerational Fun Activities

San Diego County-2011 Spring Intergenerational Hula Hoop
by Monique McIntyre

We could be at a birthday party or cookout. Any time we get together with family outside of our household, my brother will find a way for us all to play Catch Phrase.

This game is played in two teams with each member taking turns being the clue-giver. Through verbal clues and physical gestures, they hint at the word on the device screen for their teammates to guess. When the team guesses correctly, the clue-giver passes off the device before the buzzer stops.

This game, a staple in our family gatherings, is great for laughs.

That memory was sparked during Generations United's bi-weekly staff meeting, which is always started with an ice breaker.

This week’s: What is your favorite family activity that is fun for all generations?

The following activities are ideas for intergenerational family fun.

Every evening after work, our Communications Specialist Alan King relaxes by going for a walk around the neighborhood with his family.

Those moments for him are a great way to spend time with his wife, mother-in-law, 6-month old daughter and their dog. The walks help him focus less on work and more on the simple pleasures in life.

Another simple pleasure is duck pin bowling. Our Deputy Executive Director Jaia Peterson Lent plays this with her husband and son.

This kind of bowling includes small pins and balls that allow all ages to participate.

One of the best parts about bowling is the period in between turns, when you might do a bit of friendly trash talking, laughing and sharing stories.

The latter is what our Policy and Program Assistant Adam Otto enjoys each Sunday he plays bridge with his grandmother and her friends.

He looks forward to those games because it’s a great time for him and his grandmother to talk and spend time together.

Adam Hlava, our operations and grants manager, looked back on his family trips to their cabin.

He described the experience as a dream. There's a lake, paddle boats, family pets and bonfires where he and his cousins would try to out scare each other.

Adam says it was a nice way to bring his family together for a getaway full of unstructured fun.

Just then, our Program Manager Emily Patrick smiled. 

She was reminiscing about her annual family vacations that included a family talent show - one with yodeling grandparents, magic acts, stand-up comedy, and Spice Girls dance numbers performed by Emily and her cousins.

Talent shows are great because they create the opportunity for family members in each generation to show off what they got.

At family BBQs, Carolyn Walsh – who, like me, is a summer intern – says her family shows what they got in old vs young basketball and their family trivia game.

She enjoys swimming in the pool as her grandparents watch. But the trivia game, based on family history, is her favorite.

Her uncle heads it up and creates slide shows with questions about their grandparents or other family members. The family splits into teams. On Carolyn’s, she says her mother is always their champion.

We’ve shared our favorite intergeneration activities. Now, tell us about yours!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kairos Alive!

Kairos Alive!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.


This week's cool idea, Minneapolis-based Kairos Alive!, works to promote engagement, health maintenance and prevention, and connections to community for older generations.

(Check our archives for parts 1-81 | non-archived: 1, 2, 3,4, 5 and 6)

Kairos Alive!
Under Kairos Alive! is the Kairos Alive! Performance Troupe.

This troupe is an intergenerational group that uses dance and storytelling to create a sense of community and well-being in participants of all ages and walks of life.

Kairos Alive! Performance Group members span generations, ranging in age from 4 to 100. The Performance Troupe presents 10-12 performances annually featuring works from their past shows, and pieces created in collaboration with partners.

The goal of the Kairos Alive! Troupe is to bring dance into the community in order to connect with audiences in traditional and non-traditional venues.

Kairos Alive!
Their work draws upon many forms of modern dance, movement improvisation, folk dance, music, song, theater, poetry and oral history traditions from around the world. Kairos Alive! Performance Troupe is the only intergenerational modern dance theater company in Minnesota, and one of only a handful in the U.S.

This program is inspiring because their intergenerational, intercultural performances – which are performed at schools, nursing homes, museums, parks, community centers and formal performance spaces – deliver a vision of what community can be: all ages, all backgrounds, all abilities — dancing together.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Share the inspiration. You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Use Pokémon Go to Strengthen Intergenerational Relationships


by Monique McIntyre

Pokémon Go has taken over. The game launched this past Thursday and is now one of the most downloaded apps ever. So, for those people like myself who know nothing about this universe and have not downloaded the app, here’s a quick breakdown of what it’s all about.

The game combines the popular Pokémon world with GPS. This allows fans (also known as trainers) to venture out into the real world and catch Pokémon, or pocket monsters, inside capsules called Pokéballs. Using a smartphone trainers scan their surrounding area to locate Pokémon and catch them by throwing the Pokéballs at them.

Okay, now that we’re all caught up, here is why even those of us who may not be interested in the game should take a second look. This app could be a big step to bringing the generations together.

Combined with Generations United Take Action Guide here are a few ways to make the most intergenerational use of Pokémon Go.

1. Stay Active. Although we love our technology, it doesn’t always translate to an active lifestyle. And by “doesn’t always,” I mean almost never. By making people walk this app can help change that. One of the hardest parts about starting an active lifestyle is the starting part. Trust me I should know. I’ve almost ran 3 miles 4 times this week. This app makes it fun and easy to get your exercise. Kids and older adults alike can use this app to get out of the house and start getting active.

2. Take a Tour of Your Town. What better way to explore your area and spend time together than by catching Pokémon and scoring Pokéballs. You can visit parks, churches, museums, local land marks and possibly discover a great new picnic area or hidden nature trail. During this time you can have important conversations, share memories, learn about each other and ultimately get closer.

3. Volunteer. Combine the use of the app with a great volunteer opportunity such as cleaning up your local park. Catch Squirtle (don’t worry I had to look it up too) while you are picking up litter or clearing paths. Level up on the game while leveling up the appearance of your neighborhood park. Sounds like a win-win to me.

4. Keep Each Other Safe. One of the major concerns with the new app is that it has the potential be dangerous. Reinforce with kids and adults that everyone should be safe and alert at all times. Some kids maybe out walking alone, and could venture off farther than they should. An easy way to solve this problem is to have someone go with them. Someone like a grandparent. Having a grandparent around means they can go farther and catch more all while staying safe.

5. Making Connections: Once you get started, you are bound to see other people playing Pokémon Go. Now’s the perfect time to strike up a conversation and build intergenerational connections in the community. Ask questions, share tips, or direct people to a nearby wild Pikachu (the yellow one J).

Let us know if you try Pokémon Go with your grandparents, grandkids, or grandfriends and which rare Pokémon you were able to catch!

Monday, July 11, 2016

linkAges

(Credit: PAMF Innovation Center) A linkAges member assists an elder 
with a computer for a linkAges Tech Day at Stevenson House, an 
affordable housing community, in Palo Alto.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week's cool idea, linkAges is an online network that connects people of all ages and empowers individuals to improve each other's health by providing opportunities for meaningful connections.

(Check our archives for parts 1-81 | non-archived: 1, 2, 3,4, 5 and 6)

The program, featured in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, helps connect people of all ages through an exchange system that relies on abilities and interests.

The Sentinel article shows that through the story of Lynda Hyndman, an Australian-born Canadian who moved to Silicon Valley to join her husband, an engineer for a satellite company.

She joined the linkAges network after seeing a flyer at the local library. In exchange for offering to wash windows, the 59-year-old connected with people of all ages who gave her rides to the airport, her aerobics sessions and Spanish classes.

Read the full story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Visit linkAges’ site to learn more.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Share the inspiration. You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Meet Monique McIntyre - Generations United Summer Intern

As someone whose mother was raised by her grandmother – Big Mama – I know firsthand the benefits of intergenerational connections.

My great-grandmother’s influence on my mother helps shape the way she raises me and my siblings.

Big Mama was financially prudent, and as a result ran a household and raised five children on one paycheck. The way she handled money transferred to my mother and was a huge inspiration and the catalyst for my mother’s career of advising her readers on finances.

My mother has since transferred her financial sensibilities to me.

Another person who directly influences my life is my Grandma Lois. I have so many fond memories of her. Some of the most fun we had were at her holiday arts and crafts parties. We would make and decorate ornaments and dance in our chairs to Christmas music.

She always made a point to be at my school events from pre-K to High school and still continues to support me.

During stressful times at college, I am constantly comforted by Grandma Lois’s messages of love and encouragement, which always seem to come when I need them most.

For example, during my sophomore year, I was preparing for a math exam. I was incredibly nervous and full of self-doubt.

The night before the exam, my Grandma Lois randomly sent me a message about how proud of me she was and how I should never doubt myself or my capabilities. Her message carried me through to the exam the next morning and really helped to boost my confidence.

That exam ended up being my second highest exam grade for that class.

Then there’s my grandfather Charles, or more affectionately known as Pop-Pop, who moved in with my family in the months before he passed away.

I am so grateful for the valuable time I was able to spend with him. Those precious memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

As a rising senior at the University of Maryland-College Park, double majoring in Psychology and Family Science, I hope to one day help develop and strengthen families through therapy.

I am excited to be interning at Generations United this summer. I look forward to helping promote Grandparents Day, assisting in adding to and strengthening Generations United’s Intergenerational Programs database and continuing to lend my support to the Programs of Distinction.

Family relationships are incredibly important to me.

I believe my personal connections with Big Mama, Grandma Lois, and Pop-Pop will help inform and drive my work this summer with Generations United.

My elders have given me a unique perspective on the past and they continue to be a guiding light for my future.