Bringing Younger and Older Generations Together Benefits Everyone Involved
We hear a lot about intergenerational friendships these days, and there’s a good reason why—there are many benefits to such relationships including a broader sense of wellbeing and community. In our daily lives, we can tend to get isolated within our own generational circle. Older adults see a lot of other older adults, while children don’t spend much time with adults outside of their own family circles. Intergenerational connections have the power to add something more to our lives.
Getting outside our comfort zone is beneficial to our wellbeing
The truth is, going outside our comfort zone and getting to know people of different ages creates a healthier dynamic for all of us. Older adults play essential roles in the lives of young people, especially youth who are at risk or vulnerable, according to researchers at Stanford University. These relationships also give older adults the chance to learn about new technologies and trends and see the world through younger eyes.
Scientific research shows the benefits of intergenerational relationships
Stanford University’s website quotes Psychology Professor Laura Cartensen, who is the director of the Stanford Center for Longevity. Her research shows that as people grow older, their brains improve in many ways, including advancing their abilities with complex problem solving as well as emotional skills.
“It is a huge loss for society not to offer such counsel and experience to others, especially young people,” Cartensen and her colleagues write. She feels older adults, who welcome meaningful, productive activity and purpose, are especially suited to meet the needs of children and young people.
Getting to know older adults also helps our children move past the stereotypes society has around aging—as older people are deeper and more interesting than those stereotypes suggest. At the same time, older adults can relearn to be more relaxed and spontaneous by spending time with young people. These relationships offer many mutual benefits and opportunities for genuine connection, expanding the sense of wellbeing for everyone involved.
Volunteering at memory care or assisted living: connecting generations
Cassia communities including those of memory care and assisted living welcome volunteers of all ages, though children under a particular age need to be accompanied by parents or guardians (check with a location director for details). We welcome entire families as volunteers too! Seeing younger and older generations together can be truly magical. Older adults often brighten visibly while talking with children, while children starting school begin to discover the joys of reading when older people work with them.
Students tend to share their hopes and dreams with residents, who soon become friends. In fact, the possibilities for intergenerational joy are limitless. All you have to do is call Stoney Point Meadows (or another eldercare community) about volunteering. You may well find it’s the best decision you and your family ever made.
Decisions about moving to a memory care facility or caring for a loved one can be difficult to navigate. You are not alone in the process – at Stoney Point Meadows, we are here to help. To learn more, please contact Jill at Jill.OldhamRyder@cassialife.org.