While it may seem boring to younger generations, spending time with seniors can be mutually beneficial. Cross generational interaction can pass along knowledge and wisdom in addition to being fun. As Margaret Mead said, “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.”
Keeping an open mind can help people of varying ages appreciate the challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. Interaction can be as simple as grandchildren teaching their elders about technology or grandparents sharing stories of their childhood or teenage years. The purpose is to develop a better understanding of each other. Along the way it is important to realize that there may be a collision of values along the way.
While the different generations may seem to have little in common with each other, stories and experiences can have a resonate deeply. Joining together can break down stereotypes and alter viewpoints. “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,” says Dr. Morris Massey, an organizational development scholar.
Bridging the division that accompany age gaps can require flexibility in thoughts and actions. Individuals are shaped by history and life events. Today’s seniors and millennials can both relate to economic down turn. Baby Boomers were heavily influenced by the Great Depression, while Generation X have been affected by double digit inflation and a shrinking job market.
Intergenerational activity can be beneficial for all involved. The activity reduces isolation and poverty among seniors, while serving as a mentor that can enhance the lives of younger generations. Contact can enable the generations to become advocates for one another. The interaction can unite ages and develop solutions for illiteracy, crime prevention, health and environmental issues. According to Generations United, seniors who participate in intergenerational activities experience a higher quality of life and remain engaged in their communities. Additionally, these seniors remain active and engaged, leading to better mental and physical health.
Intergenerational activity plays a vital role in life at Regency Senior Living. Not only does our younger staff interact and assist the residents, they value and appreciate the wisdom and life experiences they share. We recognize the value of seniors and the contributions they make in any capacity.
Our Vice President of Business Development, Jeff Clay, remarks, “For those volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for intergenerational experiences.” To learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how you can enhance the lives of seniors, please call 844-511-3456.