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  • Blog
  • by: Jillian Updegraff
  • November 08, 2021

Promote Social/Emotional Health and Wellness

People of all ages like to feel useful, valued, and accomplished, but as people age, especially into retirement years, that feeling can be diminished as they often play a lower-key role. However, older people’s qualities, and their affinity for purpose and engagement, position them to make meaningful contributions to the lives of youth, helping fulfill their desire for a sense of meaning and purpose, and promote social/emotional well-being. 

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Youth need non-cognitive emotional skills-the crucial attitudes, behaviors and strategies required to maneuver in a complex and technical world. These skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, confidence, social interaction, influencing social connections, and sense of purpose, all of which are important for success in school and work, as well as contributing meaningfully to society. Emphasizing non-cognitive development has been shown to improve concrete performance in reading, writing, and mathematics. Unfortunately, the deficit in non-cognitive skills is most acute among socioeconomically disadvantaged youth. 

Older people are well positioned to step into this mentoring role as they can possess emotional stability that improves with age, and the wisdom that grows as experience deepens. Emotional stability and willingness to forgive make older adults especially well-suited to mentor younger counterparts on complex interpersonal problems. They have strategic communication skills and are motivated to contribute to the lives of future generations, thereby building emotional wellness and a sense of good in both older and younger generations. 

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