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We often hear about the importance of social connections and relationships for our health. But have you considered the added value of maintaining intergenerational relationships?
More often than not, your closest friends are the same age as you – but there’s something very special about having younger or older friends. Friendships with different age groups bring with them beauty and wisdom. They offer perspective. They open you up to the possibilities of other points of view and opinions of the world around you, making your life much richer.
When you share your stories and advice with younger people, you serve as a reminder that you can survive and thrive after challenging situations. And you provide life lessons. They listen and learn and open their minds to new and ever-changing views. Similarly, interacting with younger people can help you keep perspective on the challenges of various life phases.
Intergenerational friendship is also a way for you to broaden your support system. As we age, we lose some of our family members and friends. When we build relationships with younger generations, we offset the feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Improved overall health is another benefit of intergenerational friendships. Seniors who engage with younger generations are less likely to experience a fall and tend to perform better on memory tests.
Having younger friends can be uplifting and invigorating. These friendships can add meaning to your life and improve your mental health.
Having friends of various ages has been shown to impact ageist beliefs and attitudes about older adults.
Workplaces offer opportunities to connect socially with people of different ages. Here are some other ideas:
Intergenerational connections can bring much value . As you think about your social relationships, consider actively working to meet people of different ages—it can benefit you and them.