Did you know that for the first time there are more people in the United States over the age of 65 than under the age of 18? Isn’t that amazing? Just ask the people at Gen2Gen who are driven to realize the potential of older and younger generations working side-by-side for change. Intergenerational connections are good for everyone.
Picture this: a 17-year-old girl playing a weekly scrabble game with her 78-year-old grandfather. Or a 14-year-old making a different dessert every weekend with his 68-year-old neighbor and former bakery owner. Think about the kids in your life. Do they have these kinds of relationships with an older person?
We all know of people who work into their eighties (thank you RBG) and even their nineties (hello Harry Belafonte). We admire them for how eager they are to keep their minds sharp, be active and relate to others. But what’s not mentioned is the desire for older people to be needed, to nurture and to find purpose.
Then we have our youth who may need extra help and attention. Colin Powell said, “How do children gain expectations to put in their hearts and souls? They get it from the adults in their lives…(who) pass on a hundred previous generations of experience.”
In his book, How to Live Forever, longevity expert Marc Freedman describes the dilemma of age segregation and the cultural change that’s just beginning. There’s Encore.org, that aims to tap the skills of people in midlife and beyond to improve communities. Startups like Roomily are creating mixed-aged living to make housing more affordable and communal. These innovative programs and others like them are fostering deep connections and relationships as older people are reintegrated into the lives of younger ones.
To get started, look to be a link in your own family, neighborhood or larger community. Does your child need a reading buddy? Do you have a retired neighbor who may want to volunteer? You don’t have to look far to find these opportunities.
Familial creates lasting links between the generations. One client unknowingly echoed Colin Powell’s sentiment by choosing to write his Familial letter about the important role mentors played throughout his life and the enduring impact they had. Give a Familial gift and be the link in your family. If you’re interested in learning more about the experience or about gifting it to someone else, visit Familial and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415.310.2550.