5 Reasons to Have a Friend Older Than You

| Carey Lindeman

“The importance of cross-generational friendships”

Did you know that in the month of May older Americans are honored? Think about senior citizens and the contributions they make to their communities and to the lives of others.

Whether working, raising a family, shuttling kids between activities, managing a household while trying to squeeze in a little leisure time, look around and see if your friends and coworkers are from the same generation as you. That’s natural—you’re in the same phases of life connecting through work, kids and shared hobbies.

Step outside routine relationships and seek out a friend who’s older and who can enrich your life. In many cultures it is customary to have the constant influence of elders. They can offer wisdom, advice and the keys to living well. But in U.S. culture, there’s often a divide between generations. With intentional friendship, however, we can bridge the gap. Here are five reasons to explore friends outside one’s generation:

1. A different perspective- It’s so easy to get stuck in the moment, worrying about the kids, the job, the financial stresses, and the “what-ifs”. An older friend is someone who’s been there. They’ve lived through job losses, a spouse getting diagnosed with an illness, challenging situations and tough financial times. They made it through to the other side.

2. What’s important- What still matters at 80 years old? Engage an 80 year old senior in dialogue and ask them. Don’t be surprised if it’s not getting ahead at the office, making a lot of money, or having the most expensive home in the neighborhood. Things that feel important at 40 may feel silly at 80. Talk to an 80 year old about what really mattered in their life and what didn’t.

3. Seniors can enlighten you with what they have learned through the aging process. Often people have an idealized view of seniors as wise and charitable; assume that they’ve got it all figured out. It’s important to see that age doesn’t necessarily bring all encompassing enlightenment. In the end, we’re all human doing the best we can.

4. The art of living well. I love my older friends who’ve been married 30, 40, 50 years and longer, or the ones who’ve spent decades fighting a cause or living out their passion. Be open to others that are the living embodiment of the long game; what it’s like to persevere, what’s possible in life, what works and maybe even what doesn’t.

5. Seniors have experienced so many things… It’s humbling to realize there are a lot of things you haven’t experienced and a lot of things that are still unknown. Having a friend who has “been there” can help squelch some anxiety that many of us feel trying to live a life that matters. There’s nothing like a friend who’s already walked the road to help us navigate through.

We’ve talked about how older friends can benefit younger people, yet we have to mention that the benefits flow both ways. Younger generations bring vitality, energy and fresh perspective that elders often crave. Help a senior find those pictures of the grandkids on Snapchat and Facebook. Involve them in your family life and allow them to see your life. It may help them to see how far they’ve come.









Carey Lindeman is the founder and president of Promise Care, Inc., a boutique home health care company helping seniors to thrive, not just survive.

After gaining experience in lay care with seniors, she launched Promise Care in 2005 with the vision of changing the way seniors are cared for. Utilizing a whole-person-focused approach, Promise Care provides care that helps our clients thrive not just survive. Carey built a business model focused on relationships, not just checking off a list of duties that needed to be completed.

She also recognized a deep sense of fulfillment that one can experience in providing this type of care. Bringing together a staff that shares this vision, Promise Care is recognized as an organization that consistently keeps its promise to deliver the highest level of care.

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