As society has changed over the years, so have relationships among families. Today, older adults are living longer, healthier lives than in the past, making staying connected to loved ones more important than ever. Plus, various studies have shown that these intergenerational relationships have a positive impact on all those involved.
The Benefits of Engaging with Different Generations
The way we communicate with various family members can both strengthen our emotional health and allow us to better understand our own behaviors. That said, every family is different, which means every family interacts differently, too. Some are close-knit, in constant contact, and gladly provide support and care throughout the generations. On the other hand, some families live across countries or even across oceans, and may not have the opportunity to connect more than a handful of times throughout the year.
Intergenerational relationships refer to the chain of relationships between aging parents, adult children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. There’s a certain reciprocity between each family member that benefits each of the generations. For instance, seniors have lived lives full of all kinds of experiences and can offer a wealth of knowledge and support to their grown children and grandchildren. Meanwhile, adult children often help their parents when they become limited by health or mobility, at the same time supporting their own younger children. Finally, the youngest generation provides affection, happiness, and can often provide assistance with tasks that involve technology – have you ever seen how quickly a teenager can figure out a new cell phone or remote control?
It’s easy to see how these intergenerational relationships present a cyclical pattern of love, care and support among each member of the family. Children and teens see enhanced social skills and more stability in their daily lives, which can help them do well in school and steer clear of negative influences. Likewise, seniors who are close to their children and grandchildren are often healthier, less lonely, and are more involved in the world around them.
These same benefits also apply to generations who are not related. Growing intergenerational friendships with others can offer a unique perspective on life, as the older generations help the younger ones learn what to expect in their futures and offer advice to ensure they’re living their best lives. In turn, a younger person can help someone older be a little more adventurous, getting them out of their daily routines. Both parties can benefit from these different perspectives and approaches to life.
How to Build Family Relationships Among the Generations
Intergenerational relationships help strengthen families, the individuals and the community by bringing everyone together. If you’re wondering how you can promote these relationships within your own family, start by scheduling regular family get togethers. Then, decide on some activities that will get everyone involved. For instance, teach your children and grandchildren your favorite card game or put a puzzle together. Let the kids show you how to play the newest video game or have them bring over some board games that are fun for all ages.
Other options to build strong family relationships include things like going to the movies together or enjoying a movie night in once a month, rotating movie choices among family members. Or, start a craft project that you can work on each time you get together until the end result is a new family keepsake.
If your family doesn’t live nearby, you can still build your relationships by scheduling weekly phone calls or Skype sessions. Social media is another great way to stay in touch, and it allows you to share pictures and updates on your life and all you’re enjoying. The possibilities, and the benefits you’ll all enjoy, are endless.
Enhancing Your Relationships at Silver Maples of Chelsea
Silver Maples looks for opportunities for their residents to enjoy enriching connections between generations by partnering with local schools and service groups. “There’s nothing like the enthusiasm of an elementary schooler or an interesting insight from a middle schooler to lift the energy in the room,” says Emily Meloche, Director of Wellness & PR. “It’s such a good experience for children to get to talk to and connect with an adult who is not their parent, teacher, or grandparent as there is so much to learn from members of other generations. It’s an experience that is beneficial to both our resident and the student.”
Learn more about the fulfilling lifestyle and comfortable senior living options Silver Maples has to offer. Be sure to check out some of the personal stories and testimonials shared by residents, their families and our staff, or connect with us through social media, it’s a fun way to see what life is like on a daily basis for those that call Silver Maples home. If you’re ready to schedule your personal tour to see all our vibrant community has to offer, please contact us today.