According to the organization Generations United, intergenerational activities are allowing seniors to stay active and engaged socially. This contributes to living a longer and happier life with better overall physical and mental health. “Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on a memory test than their peers,” the organization states. They enjoy a higher quality of life by remaining engaged in their communities.
How is this good for others, you might ask? Developing a lasting relationship can positively influence values, morals, beliefs, and a truer sense of self-identity. Thus in turn, improves the lives of children and youth by sharing their insight on the world as future tutors, role models, or mentors.
“Together we are stronger,” states Generations United.
While we may not always agree on every value, there is a quintessential need to recognize and appreciate different generations and the perspectives of each group through the lens of intergenerational differences.
“Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
– Margaret Mead
So, how can someone who fought in WWII understand the millennial? Is it possible for the closed minded, introverted individual to have anything at all in common with the teenager prone to oversharing every detail of her day on social media? The answer is yes! Once we face our own personal challenges and keep an open mind, we can appreciate the unique challenges and opportunities that come with an intergenerational relationship.
As we all know, history has a way of repeating itself. Baby Boomers, for example, probably had their perspectives influenced by parents who remembered the trials of the Great Depression. Therefore, it is easy to find commonality with Generation X-ers who understand the implications of double-digit inflation or new college graduates who have struggled to find jobs since 2007.
People of varying ages can learn a lot from each other and learn that we aren’t so different after all. Because when people come together, it eliminates uneducated assumptions and stereotypes.
Interaction between the generations is a great way to bond through the passing of traditions and customs. By remembering that our children’s children are the future, it is our responsibility to help them understand their past so they can make their future.
While most seniors prefer face-to-face or written communication, a younger generation of children and grandchildren may only reach out via modern technology, such as email, video chatting, or texts. Bridging these preference gaps requires flexibility in your thinking, and openness to learning something new.
The important factor to remember is to just have fun. Get involved and try a new activity, such as cooking, reading, or creative thinking. Since there is no age limit to developing a new set of skills, both young and old can bond by teaching or learning together. At Regency Jackson, we offer a full range of activities to develop these skills with the kiddos. Try offering a cooking lesson to young ones, reading stories with them in the library, or stop by our arts and crafts room for some coloring or scrap booking. Teach them about something you love; chances are they will too.
At Regency Senior Living, our daily life offers plenty of activity as younger staff and volunteers help to care for seniors and those requiring assistance with daily tasks. We greatly value our residents’ relationships and their efforts to make Regency Jackson a place to call home.
Jeff Clay, Vice President of Business Development at of Regency Senior Living, said his group recruits many volunteers who bring a variety of abilities to work alongside residents.
“For these volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for inter-generational experiences,” Clay said. “We understand that many schools and colleges require volunteer hours for their students, and we would love to support those efforts. Call today and speak with our Activities Director to learn of ways you can begin a fulfilling way of working with seniors!”
To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (731) 661-9888.
The Charmm’d Foundation offers a checklist for communicating to different generations that can be viewed at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations