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Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships

Our family is extremely blessed to live only 1.5 miles from my parents. My children are able to grow up with grandparents who are actively involved in their daily lives. I am also thankful, my kids interact with elderly church members either at events or with those who serve as Sabbath school teachers.

We are also excited excited that our are a part of the Partnering for Eternity scholarship program at our local Adventist school. Both of my children have benefited from having a senior mentor during the school year. They get to bake, plant, craft and go on walks with them. They play games, put together puzzles and much more. It’s been so educational and helpful for both my kids and their senior mentors. I am happy that we’ve built and encouraged these relationships in our kids’ lives.

The benefits of intergenerational relationships should not be a surprise. Research suggests that relationships between children and seniors are quite beneficial to them both. The following are a few of these great benefits. I am sure there are many more reasons you can add to this list.

Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships

  • Kids learn from shared wisdom that comes with age.

  • In many cases, older adults often have more flexible spending-time than a child's parents.

  • Older adults tend to be more patient with young children.

  • These relationships decrease the social isolation some elderly people experience.

  • Children improve their social skills.

  • Experts tell us that time spent with children can improve an elderly person's cognitive skills.

  • Elderly people grow a deeper sense of purpose.

  • Society benefits when we work to normalize aging and alleviate fears of growing old.

  • Intergenerational relationships provide opportunity to learn new skills for both the old and young.

  • The attention given to children can increase self-worth.

Cross-generational interactions are so important for both young and old. So let’s make it a social norm to create these intergenerational relationships!

Parents, I hope you will find someone in your church, school or neighborhood with whom you can connect. And, if you are an older adult reading this, reach out to the young family that does not have grandparents in their life; build a relationship with the children. It’s healthy for you, the parents and the children.

Featured in: May/June 2022