The Melding of Generations

The Melding of Generations

How many of you live in the same city as your grandchildren? Unfortunately, not many. In today’s world, children don’t remain in the same city, or state, (sometimes not even in the same country!) as their parents and grandparents. So, there’s a good chance opportunities for connecting with younger generations aren’t as prevalent for us as they were for our parents and grandparents, some of whom may have even lived with us when we were young.

But connections between young people and seniors are vitally important to both generations. There are literally dozens of articles on this topic and the takeaway is always the same: it’s mentally and physically beneficial for people 55+ to interact with children, teens and young adults.

“Intergenerational Programs: Not Just Nice, But Necessary” is the headline of an article from Forbes Magazine where writer Trent Stamp discusses the benefits these relationships bring to both generations. Stamp points to a number of examples of seniors and children interacting and concludes that “The data overwhelmingly shows that when we engage seniors and young people around a specific outcome measure, good things happen.”

Quantum-Age website refers to intergenerational programs as “the future of aging services.” Quantum Age cites a Generations United report “I Need You, You Need Me, the Young, the Old and What We Can Achieve Together” that touts some of the benefits from intergenerational interactions including:

  • Seniors become less isolated and feel less lonely.
  • Seniors find connection and companionship.
  • Kids introduce seniors to new technology and cultural phenomena.
  • Seniors have to keep moving, which, in turn, boosts their cognitive, mental, and physical health.
  • New relationships and experiences enrich the lives of all involved.

The experts and the data lead us to one conclusion: we should participate in intergenerational relationships. Lucky for us we don’t even have to leave home to do exactly that because we have Sarah! Meet Sarah Benforado, Eastcastle Place’s student artist in residence (SAR). Sarah is a lovely, friendly, warm and wonderful 22-year-old student who lives right here at Eastcastle Place. Check out these recent stories in MKE Lifestyle and Patch, and you’ll discover that she’s majoring in jewelry and metalsmithing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and she loves living here (of course…who doesn’t?). In one article, Sarah says, “I do the work of integrating myself into the community — meeting people, building relationships, identifying community assets and building upon those.” One of the many opportunities Sarah has to build relationships is through a variety of workshops where she shares her artistic skills, youthful exuberance and sweet demeanor while offering hands-on demonstrations and instruction on creative expression through various artistic techniques.

In addition, we have a number of young people visiting the community on a regular basis, assisting in programming, performing, and more! There’s almost a constant infusion of youth on our campus!