6 Basic Ways Teens Can Benefit from Spending Time with Seniors

Talking to older adults is intimidating. They have been through so much and have a vastly different worldview from you. Yet, there are so many benefits that teens can experience when they spend time with elderly relatives, neighbors, or residents at a local senior care facility. Here are a few of these benefits and how to get past the initial awkwardness of spending time with those that are older than you.

What Are the Benefits of Hanging out with Older Adults?

By 2030, 20 percent of Americanswill be 65 years of age or older. Seniors are becoming a bigger part of our society. Here are some of the ways you can get more out of life by developing an intergenerational friendship:

  1. Self-Identity– An older person can help you figure out who you are by giving you a well-rounded understanding of yourself that is aided by decades of experience.
  2. Have Someone to Look up to– You don’t make it to old age without perseverance and living through a hard situation or two. Many seniors are real-life heroes.
  3. Engage in Mature Conversations– Talking to your friends is completely different from interacting with a golden ager. You will find that there is more depth to the conversation.
  4. Feel Like You Belong– Both the elderly and teens tend to feel lonely at times. When you are friends with an older adult, you can help soothe any feelings of loneliness.
  5. Learn a New Skill– Being able to talk to people of different backgrounds is an important life skill. It will serve you well throughout life as you apply for jobs and meet new people.
  6. Accept Mortality– As a teen, it is hard to accept that you may get old someday. Perhaps, you are even afraid of the elderly. Once you spend a few hours with an older adult, you will gain a whole new perspective.

How Can You Develop an Intergenerational Friendship?

If you do not have any older adults in your life, there are plenty of places where you can visit them while lending a helping hand. Perhaps offer to visit an assisted living facility, alternatively, see if you can help the elderly at senior centers, or at the VA. If you don’t know what to do with a golden ager, try asking them about what they are interested in.

Popular activities include gardening, scrapbooking, reading out loud, storytelling, and learning new skills, such as baking, weaving, fishing, using the Internet, or crochet. Both you and your senior friend are sure to learn a lot from each other.