Getting generations together has mutual benefits for young and old.
These days relatively few young people in the UK live with elderly relatives. Our culture has become more age-segregated, with less interaction between generations.
Immersed in their own high-tech youth culture, many young people have no proper social interaction with older people at all.
But does this really matter? Ongoing studies on intergenerational relationships are showing that it does.
Left to develop, the lack of interaction between old and young can lead to elderly people – unable to keep track of the huge advances in technology that dominate young people’s lifestyles – feeling isolated and unable to connect, fearful and mistrusting of the young generation.
But the studies show that the more the elderly spend time with young people in their lives, the more both generations benefit.
Other overall health benefits to forming stronger relationships across the years include:
- Increased skills and knowledge. Seniors learn about computer and technology innovations from young people, allowing them to keep more engaged in society. Older adults share their wisdom and life experiences to mentor the young adults about their values and life decisions.
- Greater emotional and social intelligence. Young people who interact with seniors develop greater communication and social skills and a more positive self-esteem. Older people feel a greater sense of belonging and connection to modern life.
- Renewed sense of purpose in life. Older adults feel less isolated and sense their continued usefulness to others and their community. Younger adults feel motivated to help and support older people and contribute to their wider community
- Strengthened immune system. For both older and younger individuals, social interaction and physical activities reduce stress hormones and build the body’s natural defenses to fight off illness and disease.
Increased social interaction between older and younger individuals also brings out more smiles, which lowers stress, blood pressure and heart rate.
As CareGivers we pride ourselves on being able to put a smile on our clients’ faces.
What practical ways can you suggest to help seniors better connect with young people?