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How Multi-Generational Contact Benefits Everyone

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The author Shel Silverstein wrote about a young boy and elderly man engaged in conversation. The two compare mannerisms ("Sometimes I drop my spoon.", "I often cry."). In the end, the child professes that "grown-ups don't pay attention to me." The elderly man replies: "I know what you mean."

Rather than promoting negative feelings, the passage demonstrates that despite some differences, multi-generational similarities are common and should be celebrated. In fact, psychology experts say such regular interaction is beneficial to the mental and emotional health of all parties involved.

Seniors and youth have plenty to discuss. New perspectives, valuable information, and helpful life advice and insight can and should be part of meaningful inter-generational conversation. Here are some of the benefits of such contact:

Creates an Emotional Bond

Much like the story characters, most people respond positively to the shared experience. This can be similar viewpoints, emotions, travel, and other traits and understanding. Youth find role models in seniors who have “been there,” while active adults find there’s always something new to learn from kids and young adults.

For many seniors, simply the physical demands of keeping up with youth make them feel younger and more active. Meanwhile, in an age of personal technology and time constraints, youth learn to slow down and better appreciate the pleasant details of daily life.

Facilitates Learning from One Another

Life is about constant learning. It helps people gain new perspectives and viewpoints and keep mentally alert. Not everything is learned in a school setting, however.  

For instance, kids and young adults today have grown up with technology. It is second nature to them. But while they can and do assist others to use devices and computer equipment, many are simply unaware of basic processes such as book research and computation. As youth provide information on technology, seniors can provide insight into the history and background of tools and resources taken for granted today.

Eliminates Stereotypes

Many kids and young adults may feel seniors are rigid and “set in their ways,” while many active adults view youth as distracted, entitled, and unambitious. In this case, both parties have a skewed version of the truth.

By encouraging multi-generational interaction, youth learn that everyone is unique, and there are many things they can learn from seniors. Meanwhile, seniors become aware of the struggles and challenges of kids and young adults, and can often provide helpful advice and guidance based on their personal experience.

At our four Volusia County senior centers, active adults enjoy a wealth of fun and exciting activities including games, exercise classes, dancing, movies, painting, and more. This will give you plenty to talk about during your next inter-generational discussions.

Creates Opportunities for Interaction

Mutual understanding creates strong emotional bonds. When youth achieve a realistic and positive view of the seniors with whom they interact, they’re more apt to treat other seniors with respect and admiration. As seniors better understand today’s kids and young adults, they become reacquainted with the struggles and challenges associated with growing up.

By participating in the events and activities at our four Volusia County senior centers (we have three stand-alone neighborhood dining sites), you’ll glean useful insight and information that you can share during inter-generational contact with kids and young adults.

From games, physical activity, painting, health screenings, and day trips (such as Victory Casino Cruise coordination), our senior centers feature programs and activities for every interest. Contact us for more information or simply stop by one our convenient locations today.


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