We all grew up learning the importance of teamwork, cooperation and respect. After all, most of the joys in life involve creating new experiences, meeting new people and forming meaningful connections. In the modern era, it may seem challenging to forge significant bonds with those of a different generation. However, intergenerational programs are making this far easier and exciting!
Generations ago many people grew up living in close proximity to, or even within the same household as, their grandparents. Being able to see one another more frequently and build those meaningful connections created strong intergenerational attachments that many children today do not experience. Although the evolution of the American family has transformed over the past few decades, the development of many community organizations have made it their mission to strengthen these important intergenerational bonds that make life that much sweeter.
According to Generations United (GU), a national organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through programs and public policies, intergenerational programs are beneficial because they offer both younger and older generations opportunities to interact and become engaged in issues concerning our society. Not to mention, they are mutually beneficial.
Research shows that when generations come together everyone benefits, children and youth, older adults and the community at large. Studies suggest that older adults who participate in intergenerational activities feel more socially engaged and fulfilled. Being around younger generations helps older generations stay active, and decreases feelings of isolation, which can improve health outcomes.
Similarly, younger generations participating in intergenerational programs will benefit from exposure to their elders’ traditions, wisdom and life experiences, which offers perspective. Additionally, creating meaningful connections with others helps decrease negative behavior and enhance social skills and feelings of self-worth.
Furthermore, intergenerational programs help to dispel age-related myths and stereotypes within our society. Generations have so much to learn from one another. By connecting generations through collaborative programs, a more vibrant and cohesive community and greater communal support is created. This makes sense because together we are all stronger. When generations come together, everyone benefits!
The Merion is proud to announce its new partnership with Northwestern Athletics as the “Preferred Senior Living Community of Northwestern University Athletics.”