Establishing a relationship can be an intimidating process for many of us, especially as our social circle narrows through the years, but don’t be afraid to be yourself and put yourself out there. Chances are you have a friend, young or old, just waiting for you to introduce yourself. There is also great chance that you have more in common with them than you might think at first glance.
Likewise, intergenerational relationships can seem like a daunting task, however, the key is accepting dissimilarities with an open mind and positive attitude. Once we achieve this, we can actually learn a lot from differing generations. Not only is this bonding a great way to impart knowledge and wisdom – its also easy, fun, and overall beneficial to physical and mental health for both parties involved.
Youthful relationships can be an excellent way for seniors to pass down their family history through cultural traditions. Long-lived customs are considered rites of passage defined by our past, which can offer meaning and purpose for our present, and secure our future.
While intergenerational interaction is mutually beneficial for both seniors and young adults, it is reducing isolation, loneliness, and poverty among the elderly community. Through regular communication, they can become co-advocates for one another.
We are impacted by the events of our lives, and those in it, which explains why children need older adults in their lives to fully complete the sense of self-worth. Seniors and older adults can help reach a child’s need for someone to look up to and idealize, if the child is without support. The opportunity to engage and interact can significantly impact a child’s life. If you’re concerned about not having grandchildren of your own, you can still make a difference. There are several organizations that help facilitate a co-mentoring relationship in seniors, children, and young adults.
Developing or enhancing skills is undefined by age or skill level. With each generation, we can connect to one another by engaging in social activities where we are teaching or learning something new together. Since youngsters often love to help out in the kitchen, teach them a family recipe with a cooking lesson, read stories with them in the library, or get creative in our arts and crafts room. By educating them about something you love, you might be surprised to find they will love it too.
If there seems to be a lack of similarity among generations, don’t be discouraged. Whereas an older crowd will likely prefer interacting in person or talking on the telephone, their children and grandchildren may only wish to reach out via email or text message. Connecting these preference gaps to find a happy medium sometimes requires willingness in your way of doing things, so keep an open mind.
Organizational development scholar Dr. Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”
“Together we are stronger,” states Generations United.
For more information on communicating to different generations, visit the Charmm’d Foundation http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations
At Rosewood Retirement Community of Fort Oglethorpe, we encourage intergenerational activity among our residents, staff, family, and friends. Our primary focus is offering the highest quality of life to our senior community, as well as facilitating the long lasting, established and new relationships built within the Rosewood family.
Jeff Clay, Vice President of Business Development of Rosewood Senior Living Fort Oglethorpe, 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.”
To learn more about Rosewood Senior Living Fort Oglethorpe and how you can begin your journey, call
“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