This June starts with a day that is extremely important for many seniors and young folks – Intergenerational Day. Begun by the i2i intergenerational society in 2010, this day of awareness focuses on connecting older people with their younger counterparts. The intent is to exchange knowledge, bring companionship, and combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.
While there’s no doubt that young generations can offer a lot to seniors, the exchange can go both ways. With stories, history, recipes and wisdom available, there’s a lot you can do to connect with young people in your life, and enrich their experience.
This Intergenerational Day, you have the opportunity to connect with the young people in your life. Here’s a few tips and activities to consider:
1- Consider volunteering or supporting your community
Finding a cause to volunteer with is a great way to spend some time with people from younger generations. It helps encourage positive contributions to society, and can teach them valuable lessons. It’s also a way for you to give back to your community – truly an intergenerational win-win!
Spending a certain number of hours volunteering is often necessary for many teenagers to graduate highschool. This can be a perfect way to suggest doing something together, while working towards one of their goals.
2- Record your stories
For many younger folks, hearing stories about the past directly from the seniors in their lives can be a profound experience. Rather than learn history through a textbook, or a teacher talking, hearing it directly from the source can leave a more lasting impression.
Taking the time to record your stories means that they can be shared for many generations to come. And the young people in your life can help! It could be just for fun or for a school project, but they can use their phone or other recording device to document your favourite stories and life experiences. They can also write it down or type it up – your stories can then be shared with family and friends right away!
3- Bake, cook and write down recipes together
Food is one of the best ways to connect across generations. We all grew up absolutely craving our grandparents cooking, and not much has changed for the current younger generations. There’s just something special about home cooking, especially from recipes that have been passed down through the family.
A great idea to spend time with younger folks is teach them a recipe you love. Maybe it’s a pie, or your famous mac and cheese – whatever it is, teach the techniques you use and your preferred ingredients, then you can eat it together. And afterwards, jot down your notes and you can give them an official written recipe. Everytime they make this meal in the future, they’ll be able to think fondly of the time you spent cooking together.
4- Learn technology together
It’s not just you who can teach something to younger folks – they have a lot they can share with you too! Technology is a great example. Whether it’s the latest social media platform (think TikTok) or video call tech (like Zoom), younger people in your life have the natural ability to learn and use certain types of technology much more quickly than people who grew up without it. They often are enthusiastic about sharing how it works, and that can be extremely beneficial for you long-term
Ask a young person in your life to teach you something new in tech, and it might come in handy. Maybe it will be a useful feature on your phone for sharing photos with the family, or an app that makes video-calling people who live far away much easier. Maybe it’s setting you up on social media so you can stay in touch more easily – no matter what you learn, the time you spend together will make it worthwhile.
5- Share a new experience together
There’s a lot seniors have done and seen that younger folks haven’t – but there’s still plenty that neither you or the younger generation in your life have had a chance to experience! It can make a lasting impression to enjoy something for the first time together.
It could be something as simple as going to the theater and seeing a new movie together. Or taking them to watch a live sporting event they haven’t been to yet. It could even be as simple as visiting the museum in town you’ve never had a chance to get to. Sharing something new can be a special experience for both young and old.
Look to connect with the young folks in your life on June 1st
This intergenerational day, think about ways you can be proactive and connect with the youth in your life. The time you share together, the wisdom you exchange, and the experiences you have will be remembered for a long, long time. And perhaps, when the young become seniors, they’ll think about ways they can pay it forward to the future generations.