Older Adults and Gen-Z: Staying connected amidst social distancing

Gaby Keiderling
October 5, 2021

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In the midst of COVID-19, the impact of social isolation on the elderly is often forgotten. Teens tend to live in their own bubbles where they FaceTime their friends, perform Zoom workouts, and spend hours scrolling through Instagram. But, Gen-Z’ers generally don’t consider how older adults are dealing with the lack of connectivity. The elderly, who are at highest risk of developing the most severe conditions associated with COVID-19, are lonelier than they ever have been. Something as simple as a 15-minute phone call from a grandchild could make their day.

Think about it, Grandpa lives alone in an assisted living facility in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Bingo nights on Thursdays were the highlight of his week, playing bridge with his friends filled his days, and every Friday he looked forward to lunch with his granddaughter. Now, all of these activities are cancelled to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Gen-Z'ers often don’t see themselves as living a similar experience to older adults. However, our lives are not so different. Just as grandpa looked forward to his weekly social activities, Gen-Z'ers once looked forward to playing frisbee on the green, open mic nights, sketch comedy performances, and fun nights out with their closest friends. But, even though the two generations have lost the majority of social interaction, Gen-Z can still remain connected through video technology and social networking, which older adults often struggle to use.

Intus Care recognizes this problem and is seeking to close the gap between Gen-Z and older adults by launching the Intus Cares—an intergenerational connection program.

To reduce feelings of isolation and social disconnect brought about by COVID-19 guidelines, Intus Cares will digitally connect older adults with college students. Using mutually accessible technology such as telephone or video conferencing, students will volunteer weekly to talk one-on-one with their senior matches, establishing an ongoing virtual connection. We believe both generations will benefit from additional social interaction, even if it’s virtual.  

Often, teenagers and young adults don’t understand the fundamentals of long-term care, its impact on the elderly, or even the social and intellectual benefit of connecting with the elderly population. This is where Intus Care comes in, to demonstrate that although a gap does exist between Gen Zer’s and the older adults, we all have interests, hobbies, worries, and a desire for genuine human connection that transcends generational gaps. Through initiatives like the Intus Cares Program, the gap can be made smaller. While Intus Care may have started as a group of twenty-year-old Gen Z’ers trying to save the lives of older adults, the company is now a model for how people of all ages can come together, especially during unprecedented times.

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