January is National Mentoring Month! And while we may typically think of mentorship happening in the workplace, there are near-endless opportunities for mentoring in every aspect of life, including relationships between today’s youth and older adults. Read on to learn more about the benefits of intergenerational mentorship, along with how to find opportunities for your aging loved one to start making a difference while reaping rewards of their own.
Why Mentorship Matters
Created by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Mentoring Month (NMM) raises awareness about the many forms of mentorship, recruits people to mentor, and promotes mentoring growth by encouraging people to mentor.
Approximately nine million children across the United States could benefit from greater guidance in areas of life and learning. Older adults, however, have a lifetime’s worth of experience, but often lack outlets through which to share this wisdom. In that sense, multi-generational mentorships are a perfect fit.
Not only do younger generations gain advantages from meaningful relationships with older adults, the benefits are mutual: seniors who volunteer derive a greater sense of purpose and higher self-esteem -- particularly valuable at a point in life in which many people are especially vulnerable to depression and isolation. In volunteering to mentor, seniors don’t just have the opportunity to share their knowledge with another generation, but they also gain personal satisfaction from making a difference within their own communities.
Mentorship Opportunities for Seniors
Wondering where to start? Senior Corps is an invaluable resource for “helping seniors help America.” In addition to promoting mentorship opportunities with youth through its popular Foster Grandparent program (which lets seniors choose from thousands of local children's organizations to offer their mentorship, advocacy and friendship), Senior Corps offers other programs as well. Explore their Senior Companions and RSVP programs. (http://www.seniorcorps.org/rsvp)
While our attention is often focused on how we can help seniors enjoy better lives, we often overlook their ability to make a difference in the lives of others, as well. January’s National Mentoring Month delivers the perfect opportunity to embrace the profound and mutual benefits of multi-generational mentorship.
Younger generations can receive much needed guidance from mentoring relationships with older adults.
Many different mentoring opportunities exist, along with plentiful resources for finding them.
Encouraging seniors to get involved with mentoring can benefit not only the individuals they are helping, but also the older adults themselves.
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.