Insights from Stephanie Berman, MSN, RN, CALM

INtergenrational friendships men of all ages eating food and laughing

The Positive Impact of Intergenerational Friendships for Seniors

When it comes to intergenerational friendships, age is just a number.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and many people find that close friendships are crucial in creating a life they enjoy. In fact, we learn from a young age how significant friends are to us. At every step of the way, they serve as our second family, and we truly can’t imagine how our lives would be without them.

This bond transcends age, gender, nationality, religion, or any other aspect of a person’s life. When two people connect—they just connect. And this is why you see so many people from different corners of the world sharing unbreakable bonds with one another. It is also common to see people who are incredible friends despite having decades of an age difference between them.

Generations Learn and Grow Together

It’s no secret that friendships and relationships can have a positive impact on our lives, no matter our age. These social interactions provide us with support, boost our moods, and help us connect with others. For seniors, social interaction is especially important as it can help ward off loneliness and isolation. And while friendships with people our own age are valuable, intergenerational friendships can be even more beneficial. Here’s why:

1. Different Perspectives

One of the best things about intergenerational friendships is that they offer the opportunity to gain different perspectives. When we interact with people of different ages, we’re exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. These fresh perspectives can challenge our long-held beliefs and encourage us to see the world in new and different ways. And who knows? We might just learn a thing or two from our younger and older friends!

2. Shared Interests

Age may be just a number, but it’s also a pretty good indication of the kinds of things we’re interested in. That’s why intergenerational friendships are so great—they give us a chance to connect with people who share our interests, even if those interests are quite different from our own. For example, a senior who loves classic rock music might form a friendship with a young person who shares the same interest. Or if you love spending time outdoors, you could find a new hiking buddy in someone half your age. No matter what your interests may be, there’s sure to be someone out there who shares them—and an intergenerational friendship is the perfect way to find them.

3. Mentorship Opportunities

Intergenerational friendships also provide seniors with the opportunity to mentor younger people. If you’ve been around the block a few times, you likely have a wealth of knowledge and life experience that can be invaluable to someone just starting out on their journey through life. By sharing your wisdom and advice with someone younger, you can help them make better choices, avoid some of the mistakes you made, and achieve success in their own lives. What could be more rewarding than that?

4. Learn New Skills

We all know how rapidly the world changes. Every decade, newer things come along that make older ways of doing things irrelevant. And while the younger generation can keep pace with all these changes and upgrade their skills at warp speed, seniors may find it quite difficult to do. They may struggle with new-age technologies. But this is where intergenerational friendships are perfect. Seniors struggling with using the internet, an app, or a smart device can ask their younger friends to provide assistance. Over time, they can even learn the ins and outs of these technologies.

Younger friends can also make changes in the lives of their older friends. They can set up home automation and other tech-driven solutions to make their friends’ lives much easier. They can even set up essential products and services relating to healthcare that can actually help them live healthier lives.

5. Deeper Insights

The world is constantly changing. And with it, everything else is constantly changing as well. With each new generation, new ideas are born, new perspectives take precedence, new priorities shape up, and the very fabric of society evolves. This is why no two generations are the same.

As we age, it is easy to get disconnected from the latest happenings and the overall changes in society. Even if you try, you might not understand (or agree with) things that newer generations are involved in. This is where intergenerational friendships become instrumental. A younger friend can provide a lot of insights and perspectives to their senior friend. They can also make them privy to new music, ideas, knowledge, and even the latest slang! All of this can help seniors broaden their horizons and get a deeper understanding of the changes that have taken place in recent times.

6. Keeps Loneliness at Bay

One of the most important benefits of intergenerational friendships is that they help seniors feel more socially connected. As people age, it’s not uncommon for them to feel increasingly isolated from the world around them. With children grown and retired from their careers, seniors can often find themselves feeling lonely and disconnected. Intergenerational friendships can help seniors to stay active and engaged in the world around them. It’s important to maintain social connections, and intergenerational friendships are a great way to do just that.

7. Improved Brain Function

Last but certainly not least, intergenerational friendships can improve brain function. One study showed that spending time with school children can lead to improvements in memory and executive functions of the brain in seniors. This positive impact on cognitive abilities is proof that these types of friendships and relationships are truly valuable and can enhance quality of life.

The Positive Impact of Intergenerational Friendships

If you’re looking for ways to improve your well-being, consider reaching out to people of all ages—not just those within your peer group. Intergenerational friendships offer many benefits, including different perspectives, shared interests, and mentorship opportunities. So go ahead and strike up conversations with people of all ages—you might just be surprised at how much you have in common!

Scroll to Top