Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships
Today, it is less common in the United States for young people to live with seniors in the same home. This means less interaction with their grandparents. There was a time, however, when many generations of a family would live together in one roof, which is still common in many other countries across the world today.
As it turns out, 93% of U.S. adults in a recent survey said children benefit from growing relationships with their grandparents, and 92% agreed that seniors benefit from relationships with children. So, we all almost universally agree that intergenerational relationships are essential for everyone involved.
Benefits for Seniors
Seniors provide meaning, care, and mentorship while children provide vibrancy, energy, and imagination to this powerfully beneficial relationship. This meaningful and joyful engagement equates to a big boost in self-esteem for seniors. Seniors with high self-esteem are more active and more likely to engage in other activities. These relationships are good for the mind, body, and spirit!
Through these intergenerational relationships, the younger generation can instill their ideas about today’s society, and how far culture has come since seniors where children. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Many seniors learn how to use computers, tablets, and smartphones by spending time with children, teens, and young adults.
Building relationships with younger generations can also change seniors’ opinions of youth. In prioritizing these relationships, seniors can learn more about how the youth is changing society by what they are doing, saying, and thinking. It has a significant impact on senior’s perspective, letting them see the younger generations side. Plus, it provides a way to exchange stories about a time when seniors could remember their youthful days and what their aspirations were.
In participating in these programs, seniors greatly benefit from these interactions and feel less lonely or isolated creating strong social bonds.
Benefits for Younger People & Children
Kids who take part in intergenerational programs come away with a more positive attitude towards seniors. They learn about history through stories of when seniors grew up, how different their life was, and provides a valuable connection to where society was and is at now. Children learn from seniors’ wisdom as well, who can share important first-hand experiences with a wide variety of things. Things like respect, manners, and essential social skills and attention that can come from time spent with seniors.
Seniors can significantly impact the future of a younger adult by challenging them to live life differently than they did. Living their life up until now, many seniors have had the time to reflect and can guide younger adults to make decisions that they wish they had. Having this time with seniors even opens avenues to learn new interests, skills, and hobbies they otherwise may never have found. Intergenerational relationships provide a valuable connection through family history. Grandparents pass down stories upon stories to relate to experiences and offer keen advice or to have a hard laugh in remembering a funny memory.
That’s why mentorship is such a time-honored tradition in so many cultures around the world. It helps young people learn from senior citizens while also seeing a positive role model in their everyday lives.
Benefits for the Community
Because of intergenerational programs the community, as a whole, can feel more comfortable about aging, have more respect for senior citizens, and reduce ageism and stereotyping. It creates a sense of understanding and respect for each generation living within the same society. That connected relationship of knowledge, understanding, and respect creates a better overall community.
Intergenerational relationships are highly valued throughout history and across the world. We should all do our part to champion this significant benefit to society.