Celebrating Connections Across Generations
The month of September is also Intergeneration Month, an annual designation to focus on intentionally connecting generations together. What a great opportunity to reflect on why these relationships are so important.
According to the Legacy Project, there are numerous mutual benefits for establishing relationships with multiple generations. For children, intergenerational bonds can result in higher self-esteem, better emotional, improved social skills and higher confidence. One study showed that when a child is mentored by an older adult, they are:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs.
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol.
- 52% less likely to skip school.
For older adults, a relationship with a grandchild or young friend offers a sense of freedom to experience the joys of parenthood without the drawbacks. They also consistently report less depression, better physical health and a higher level of life satisfaction.
What if we all took some extra time this month to celebrate grandparents and all that they represent? Here are just a few ways to connect generations and celebrate older adults:
- Pokémon Go. This game was launched as a smartphone app in July, and as many of you know, is hugely popular among many age groups. Take advantage of this latest fad and encourage the whole family to tag along in the hunt for Pokémon. It’s a good way to enjoy time together, stay active and explore your community! You may also see others out doing the same thing, strike up a conversation and build those intergenerational connections.
- Get a ‘living history’ lesson. Challenge yourself and your children to ask questions about the life of a grandparent or older adult. Prepare questions and interview them about their history, experiences and milestones. Most will welcome the opportunity to share their story and will appreciate the interest. You might be surprised to learn something new, too!
- Encourage intergenerational activities at school and daycare. With school starting, there are many opportunities to benefit both age groups through mentorship activities, special projects, field trips, etc. Get involved and recommend intergenerational programming at your child’s school.
- Organize a neighborhood potluck. Expand your social circle and include neighbors of all ages to get to know them better. You might realize you have more in common than you thought!
- Volunteer. Statistics prove that 60% of nursing home residents never have a personal visitor. Contact a local retirement community or nursing home and ask about an intergenerational mentorship program. Stopping by for a quick visit (even bringing the family dog with prior approval) may brighten a resident’s day while setting an example for your children as well.
Let’s connect with young and old this month to create memories that will last a lifetime!