Although spending time with people in your own age group is a great way to connect with people who have lived through similar experiences and are navigating similar age-related changes, having an intergenerational community is also important. Intergenerational connections are beneficial to everyone involved. By seeing life through the eyes of someone from a different generation, all parties can build a greater understanding of their communities and themselves. For older adults, for whom social connections are such an important part of staying healthy, intergenerational communities can be especially fulfilling. Here is a closer look at the benefits of intergenerational communities and how to make the most of them.

What is an intergenerational community?

Typically, intergenerational community refers to the connections that exist between family members of different age groups, from grandparents to grandchildren. However, the understanding of intergenerational communities is changing. Because many families are spread out across the country, intergenerational relationships are also increasingly occurring between people who are not related but still figure prominently in each other’s lives. For instance, the intergenerational relationships that develop between care home staff and residents can be similar to the intergenerational relationships aging parents have with adult children, and come with all of the same benefits.

UHS DreamCatchers
UHS DreamCatchers is a Tucson-based chapter of the Hospice DreamCatchers Organization, whose mission is to grant hospice patients’ last wishes while bridging generational gaps. They are partnered with Harmony Hospice, and have organized over 10 events for “dreamers” around the region. These young people came to give some special music to our residents in August!

Why are intergenerational communities so important?

The benefits of intergenerational relationships are truly a two-way street. For children, having close relationships with older adults can boost their self-esteem and make them feel secure. Older adults can also help them in practical ways with schoolwork and by offering insights gained from years of experience. Younger adults get similar benefits from maintaining relationships with seniors.

For seniors, intergenerational relationships are ideal for staying physically and mentally agile. These relationships create a sense of purpose for older adults. Loneliness is a risk factor for a long list of health conditions for seniors, and intergenerational communities help older adults maintain social connections that help them stay connected.

How can I make the most of intergenerational communities?

The easiest way to make the most of your intergenerational community is simply to devote time to it. Proactively schedule activities together when possible. Technology can be a great resource for the development of intergenerational communities as well, with online video networks like Zoom allowing people to connect over long distances. If you’re in an assisted living home, make connections with the staff to expand your social circle.

At Arizona Homestead Assisted Living, our residents and staff enjoy robust, fulfilling relationships together that help our communities feel like home. Whether you or your loved one need basic supervisory care or directed memory care, there is a place in one of our welcoming homes. For more information, contact our assisted living home in Tucson today.

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