How to combat stress in intergenerational families

Each family is different. Some are made up of parents and their children, in other cases they are more relatives who live in that home. An example is the cores where grandparents and grandchildren live together with the parents of the latter. While there are many advantage of this typology, one can not ignore some problems derived from coexistence.

The presence of so many people in such a small space can lead to stress. A sensation that can be seen increased by the differences between generations that live in this family. Knowing how to operate in these contexts will help to take full advantage of these types of homes and take advantage of the advantages offered.


Reduction of stereotypes

As indicated by the work of the University of Valencia, Active Aging and Intergenerational Solidarity: Keys to Active Aging, the first step is to reduce stereotypes among the different generations that live together. Occasionally, stress arises from conflicts arising from misunderstandings. On the one hand, the elderly feel that things have changed and do not adapt to this environment where they now live.

On the other hand, the new generations are much more active and see the elderly as a burden that can not keep up with them. However, both concepts are false assessments that act as a clichés and they prevent all members of the household from knowing each other and therefore getting to know each other in order to take advantage of all the advantages that can be offered.


The solution? An aging "in positive"That is to say, to face this new stage with a good attitude on the part of the grandparents that are part of these intergenerational families, as well as for the rest of the members, a first step for this purpose is to involve everyone in joint activities in where they can offer the best of them and in this way see themselves as a team.

The goal of these activities is to seek a common benefit and not the individual. On the one hand, the elderly will feel integrated into this family and will see that their conception that they are no longer useful is false. On the other hand, grandchildren will see everything their grandparents can offer them and the stereotype that they are no longer useful is a wrong vision.

Strengthen relationships

How strengthen intergenerational relationships? There are several ideas that are proposed for this purpose:


- Joint projects. Thinking about a long-term project is a great idea. An example is to maintain a plant from which some fruits can be extracted. There are also gyms where all the members of an intergenerational family can be integrated.

- Exchanges of knowledge. Many are the experiences that grandparents have and that can serve as a lesson for the little ones. On the other hand, the grandchildren, digital natives, can help the adults know first hand the new technologies of the XXI century.

- Emotional Support. The bad times are less sad if you pass along with loved ones next door. Both the youngest can serve as positive reinforcement, spreading their energies to their grandparents, as the latter encourage them not to give up and show their pride in front of conquered goals.

Damián Montero

Video: The superpower of intergenerational living | Derenda Schubert | TEDxMtHood


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