Closer connections between people across different spheres of life can open up some great opportunities for all involved. Let’s explore the power to live beyond generations…
How many people do you interact with on a regular basis with people of a different age or generation than you? Would taking away your close friends and family now make a difference?
In fact, many of us only have fleeting moments rather than deep connections with people of different ages and stages of life, except for those we work with or say hello to at the supermarket.
But why is this so important? Diversity is important to our well-being, providing new perspectives, insights and even enhancing creativity! And generational relationships contribute greatly to this. Both are beneficial, but they also include learning, laughing, teaching, supporting, and experiencing life together.
Intergenerational relationships have so many and wide-ranging benefits socially, mentally, and emotionally that we want to celebrate and share some of the ways they can help you thrive.
One of the best ways to connect more deeply with other generations is to join a community and learn from the different characters you meet there. Food for Life hosts community events and caters to people of all ages and backgrounds, from cooks to teaching how to grow their own food. In addition, Eden Project will hold “Community Month” in June, bringing people together to celebrate friendship, food and fun with their neighbors.
But that’s not all. We hear constantly about the need for care of older people and the issue of social isolation. However, it became clear that young people, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, suffer from social isolation just as much as older people, despite having access to extensive social media channels. Anxiety is not limited to young people.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that about 67 million people live in the UK and 18.6% are over the age of 65. By 2041, this figure is set to increase to 26% of her. At the same time, rising costs of living and other challenges mean that many young people are still living at home. Is there a way for these parties to support each other and deal with loneliness issues at the same time?
If you see age as just a differentiator, you’re pigeonholing yourself. Not for 70-year-old motorcyclists, gigging enthusiasts, teenage baking and cross-stitch enthusiasts. They simply cling to stereotypes and limit their chances of connecting, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Attracting different groups in society has many benefits, and initiatives such as Care Homes FaN are taking full advantage of it. This social activity project provides opportunities for young people and school-age children to spend quality time with seniors living in care homes and participate in activities such as storytelling, digital media and gardening. With 4,000 people now on board and each project continuing for up to 18 months to establish deeper connections, everyone seems to appreciate the benefits of these new connections.
But generational relationships are not limited to projects, they are everywhere. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Angela, who is in her seventies. Angela enjoys her close friendship over twenty years with her former colleague Eve. During this later part of her life, their friendship really deepened, despite Eve being 15 years younger than her and her life taking different directions.
Angela and Eve, who once held the pair together through work and children, now enjoy listening to each other, walking their dogs, and sharing sourdough bread. Providing a motherly presence to her friends whose families are not geographically close, Angela’s younger friends are always there for her.
Eve also reveals that she has volunteered to befriend two women in their 90s and is getting as much out of these experiences as she did. She enjoys hearing about women’s common interests: songs, music, food, animals, gardening, but the beauty is simply chatting.
What stands out from these descriptions is the commonality of life and interest in another human being that transcends age differences.
future of friendship
Professors Timothy Brubaker and Ellie Brubaker conducted a study of intergenerational relationships. This reiterates the similarities in values of human experience beyond what distinguishes us, such as age. They found that demonstrating the 4 Rs of respect, responsibility, reciprocity and resilience strengthened intergenerational relationships.
At first, it may feel like the younger and older generations don’t have much in common, but spending time together teaches young people to value the life experiences of their elders and strengthen relationships. It is believed that as you develop, your senses become duller. of duty or care. Instead, responsibility becomes an appreciated and shared value. This strengthens relationships on all levels through changing dynamics and stages of life.
So how do we take the next step to make cross-generational living a common practice of modern life? In fact, many cultures around the world already do. Grandparents often live on the same floor, in a separate building, or next door to their children or grandchildren. But there are also initiatives to help those who cannot live nearby or who have no family. Share My Home matches seniors who have room to spare with “friendly companions.” They promise to help each other with household chores each week, enjoy each other’s company, and improve the quality of life for all.
A step forward in society
Intergenerational living is now recognized as a successful strategy for developing effective communities and addressing society’s broader health challenges. Some local governments, backed by innovative designers, community groups, and ordinary citizens, are taking creative responses to the way our societies are actually built in the first place.
The Tullkammarkajen project in Halmstad, Sweden was specifically designed to consider the communal living of people at different stages of life. Providing access for both people with and without disabilities, their designs incorporate areas for communal dining, sharing social activities, and participating in gardening. . They even integrate kindergartens in the middle of housing projects.
Closer to home, London-based firm Matter Architecture is working with partners to establish homes that “support and enable participation and sharing among residents of all ages.” Their design showcases integrated housing with open spaces and wheelchair accessible platforms amidst green spaces that people of all ages can enjoy.
These systems greatly support young parents who are having trouble raising children. They also give hope to young people who are struggling to make ends meet and enter the housing market, and to isolated seniors who want to be more involved in their communities. deepen the understanding between
Interested in participating?
United for all Ages are social enterprise support centers across the UK where people of all ages can come together to chat, participate in activities and sports together.
Reengage regularly hosts tea parties, which often require a host.
Together Project holds a singing class called “Uta to Hohoemi”.
Whether your curiosity is piqued by one of these projects, or you have a unique creative idea in mind, reaching out and talking to people of different ages and stages is a great place to start. As Gertrude Stein said, “We are always the same age.”