Harness the Power of Multigenerational Mentorship
With the explosive growth of the over-65 population in the United States — an estimated 11,000 Americans turning 65 each day — it may be time to consider ways to make more of our growing multigenerational society, according to authors Marc Freedman and Trent Stamp. Recent Harvard Medical School research demonstrates that older people who mentor younger people in work and in life are three times as likely to be happy as those who do not engage in this way. At the same time, there is significant research showing that younger people themselves reap many benefits from this kind of support.

The authors point to popular films such as “The Intern,” “Creed” and even “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — each depicting variations on a common theme: the relationship between a wise, older mentor and a younger character in need of guidance. They contend that art is imitating life, and conclude that “Helping young people to learn while keeping old people vital is a recipe for social cohesion, and equally for boosting our economy by creating more productive citizens across much longer lifespans.”

Making this happen can begin with common sense steps focused on the development of multigenerational ties within the workplace, as well as in our communities, schools, and certainly associations. Older individuals can be encouraged to stay active longer, and by fashioning our own blueprint aimed at this end, we can create new opportunities that allow this expanding population to be of benefit in a society that is ever more dependent on the productivity of a smaller group of people.
Harvard Business Review (07/06/16) Freedman, M.; Stamp, T.
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