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Intergenerational relationships are important for the young and the old

Booming Forward: Intergenerational Relationships
Posted at 1:27 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 15:27:48-04

The last time you got together with some friends, were any of them from a different generation?

Experts who study human connection say intergenerational relationships are more important than ever.

In this week's Booming Forward, sponsored by Optum, researchers say there are clear benefits for the young and the old when people born decades apart spend quality time together.

Interaction between different generations can clear up false stereotypes, encourage critical thinking, and help young people prepare for their own aging.

Karl Pillemer, a Human Development Professor at Cornell University, says more needs to be done to bring people together.

"For the first time in history, most young people have almost no contact with older people outside of intermittent connections in their own family. So, our society is dramatically segregated. And that's why folks like us are trying to develop programs that help to bring them together in more meaningful ways," says Pillemer.

He helped start the Cornell Crisis Advice Project - an online space that offers elder wisdom for challenging times.

"There are people still alive today whose families were affected by the 1918 pandemic and have memories of the aftermath of that," says Pillemer. "Getting that experience transfer gives younger people a kind of living perspective that they would never otherwise get," he continues.