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42819721 - grandma took care and wheelchairsWhen people come together, it helps to ward off inaccurate and negative stereotypes. Because “Together we are stronger,” says the organization Generations United.

Organizational development scholar Dr. Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”

The challenge we face is developing a deeper understanding and acceptance of others. Often values and personalities tend to collide when members of different generational groups come together, naturally.

Does the war veteran in the wheelchair, starring blankly in the corner have anything in common with the bubbly teenage girl taking selfies? Can someone whose perception about antiquated gender roles hold a conversation with someone whose progressive ideals derive from a feminist generation? If you were wondering, the answer is yes!

Establishing a relationship can be an intimidating process at first, but don’t be afraid to be yourself and open up. There is a great possibility that you have more common interests than you might have initially thought.

People of varying ages, whether young or old, can learn and grow from positive interactions with one another. The fundamental element in developing a successful relationship in seniors and young adults is to have an open mind and appreciate the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the territory of an intergenerational relationship. Many benefits can come from young and old learning together, offering support, and encouragement in the process. With many relationships today, youthful generations are teaching our seniors how to use modern technology or revealing their most recent favorites in entertainment. Similarly, a younger generation might discover revolutionary technology such as the age-old record player or timeless film movies that are just as influential today as they were decades past.

Interaction between the generations is not only a great way to pass along knowledge and wisdom… it’s also fun, exciting, and good for overall health.

According to the organization Generations United, such intergenerational activities allow seniors to live active, engaged, and energized, which contributes to living longer with better physical and mental health. They enjoy a higher quality of life by remaining engaged in their younger communities.

“Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on a memory tests than their peers,” the organization states. “Older adults with dementia experience more positive effects during interactions with children.”

The important factor to remember is to just have fun. Get involved and try a new activity, such as cooking, reading, or creative thinking. Since there is no age limit to developing a new set of skills, both young and old can bond by teaching or learning together. At Riverwood, we offer a full range of activities to develop these skills with the kiddos. Try offering a cooking lesson to young ones, reading stories with them in the library, or stop by our arts and crafts room for some coloring or scrap booking. Teach them about something you love; chances are they will too.

The Charmm’d Foundation offers a checklist for communicating to different generations that can be viewed at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations

At Riverwood Retirement Senior Living of Rome, our community offers plenty of daily activities as staff and volunteers help to care for seniors and those requiring assistance with daily tasks. We greatly value our resident relationships and their efforts to make Riverwood a place to call home.

Call today and speak with our Activities Director to learn of ways you can begin a fulfilling life working with seniors.

To learn more about Riverwood Retirement Senior Living Rome, call (706) 235-0807.