When there are differences in interests, physical mobility, and mindset, it can be hard for different generations to bond over a shared activity.
This is something I’ve personally been reflecting on as I spend the summer as an intern with the Get Old team.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a day with a group of my fellow summer interns offering social media tutorials and tips as part of a day-long event where Pfizer colleagues got to invite a parent or older friend to work (fittingly called Get Old Together Day). I loved watching the interactions between different generations and realizing how much we all had to share with one another. It got me thinking about how important it is and how much we can gain from spending time with people both older and younger than you.
For me, it’s spending a lot of time with my amazing grandmother. Even though our interests don’t always align (she has only succeeded in getting one of her grandchildren to participate in one of her favorite pastimes, playing Bridge) we’ve found other ways to connect – and have more in common than we might have thought. This past summer, I took my grandmother to a garden and museum that she had never heard of before, even though it wasn’t far from where she lives. She said that if it weren’t for Google Maps, which I helped her use, she would never have known about either of those places! If you don’t drive, or prefer a companion to explore a new place, a teen or twenty-something can be a great travel partner!
From one summer intern to the grandparents out there, here are some more ideas for spending time with the Gen-Zers or millennials in your life.
Teach a skill of your own.
The grandkids might be more tech-savvy, but they still have a lot to learn from you. Show them something you love and give them a chance to try it out. Recently my grandmother showed me how to knit, and I actually liked it! Who says that’s just for “older” people?
Start your own book or film club.
Take turns choosing books and movies to read or watch at the same time. When you’re done, pour some tea and discuss. I recently introduced my grandmother to one of my favorite TV shows, and now we frequently check in with each other to talk about it.
Interview each other.
Let your grandchildren ask you about your childhood. Then switch places and ask them what reflections they have and what they hope for the future. Consider taking a video or voice recording of your conversation. Whether you go back to listen to the interviews a few weeks later or many years later, you’ll be glad to have it.
Choose a health goal and work on it together.
Check in on each other regularly to stay on track, and maybe even share your progress using a health and fitness social network or app. The last time I stayed at my grandmother’s house, we both agreed to wake up at the same time and I would go for a run in the neighborhood while she took a walk. We got back at the same time to eat breakfast together and celebrate our active morning!
Get outside and have a photo shoot.
Cleaning out your closet? Your grandchildren or neighbors might be thrilled to try on that “retro” clothing. Have a blast by hosting a fashion show and snapping plenty of photos before tossing or donating those items.
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