Reconnecting with the grandkids or making new connections with those younger than us can be challenging. With different cultures, perceptions, skills and interests, we know it can sometimes feel that communicating with this generation requires a different language!
That is why we at Freedom Aged Care have created an introductory 101 to understanding and connecting with those quirky and sometimes eccentric young adults.
Firstly, who are millennials?
Millennials, or generation Y, are roughly defined as those born between 1982-2004 and are reaching young adulthood in the 21st century. Many of our residents at Freedom have grandchildren or even great-grandchildren who are currently teenagers or young adults; these are millennials.
Why is understanding millennials so important?
Understanding those who are younger can be a useful way to keep your mind current and a great way to strengthen relationships with younger family members. Learning about new technologies and issues important to the younger generation also allows us to better understand how our society operates. Creating and strengthening these relationships can also be beneficial to millennials, who can gain from the knowledge, experience and wisdom of an older generation. This can help both generations to appreciate one another’s values and reduce the risk of ageism (prejudice and discrimination based on someone’s age). A shared understanding of one another also allows both parties to gain a greater insight into the wider community and improve their confidence interacting with different age groups.
How can we connect?
Share our interests and hobbies
A great way to connect is to find common interest. Why not brainstorm activities that you can enjoy together? For example, if you both enjoy films, why not have a film night? If you like nature, have a nature walk. Enjoy music? Swap your CDs or listen to some records together. Do you both love to paint? Take some art classes together. Obsessed with animals? Try volunteering together at an animal shelter. Love travelling? Compare travel stories and ambitions. Or are you both reading enthusiasts? Why not share books and have a mini reading group to compare your favourite novels? The opportunities are endless. If you are still unsure where to start, why not join a local club to meet millennials who share similar hobbies and interests.
Learn something new
Sharing experiences, skills and knowledge is an important custom in assuring our society’s positive development. Teaching and learning new skills can be a very beneficial and bonding experience. Maybe a younger person you know would be interested in learning a foreign language together (or from you, if you’re bi-lingual), gaining some further insight into your history (with the assistance of some personal photo albums), taking a sewing or knitting class from you or receiving business advice if they’re a budding entrepreneur.
You could also ask your grandchild or millennial friend to teach you a new skill. For example, operating new technologies can be a practical and useful skill to learn for everyday life. Whether it’s setting up an email address, a Facebook account, or just getting some tips on operating your mobile or computer confidently; there are lots of opportunities to learn new skills with the help of the younger generation. If you don’t know any millennials to teach or learn from, why not enrol in a class? Ask our Freedom staff for assistance finding the right avenue for you. Try a contemporary fitness class like Pilates or Zumba, two disciplines popular with the younger generation.
Social media channels offer a great opportunity to connect with millennials. Online platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest all provide ways to connect with different generations. Keep up to date with popular trends across a range of demographics using the image sharing website Pinterest or stay in touch with your loved ones on Facebook by interacting with updates they share.
Start a project
Improving communication and overall relationships can be made simpler if you have something to occupy your time together. Why not start a puzzle? Or do an arts and crafts project? Construct a scrapbook . You could also try some new board games or classic card games.
At Freedom we believe that being able to communicate and interact across different generations is beneficial in keeping our minds challenged and socially aware. We believe that the ability for our senior residents to comfortably communicate and interact with their millennial relatives, friends and acquaintances, is important for maintaining their social, mental and emotional wellbeing. At Freedom, we support all our residents in feeling confident, comfortable, happy and free interacting with anyone and everyone they meet.