More treatment models are gradually adopting a biopsychosocial perspective of health and illness, which includes the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to a person’s condition. As a result, health care providers have begun to identify characteristics among separate groups of people to warrant more adapted or specialized forms of treatment. One of the most prominently specified variables is age. In order to focus findings and target more specific implications, many research initiatives will observe a particular generation like children, adolescents or seniors. These observations help paint a comprehensive picture of the entire developmental process.
According to the 2000 Census, 3.9 million American households hold three or more generations within their homes. These families face a number of unique obstacles such as the inability to place the young or elderly members on health insurance policies. In addition, the overwhelming stress that older adult caregivers can experience while assisting dependent children contributes to their existing health problems, resulting in an assortment of stress-related illnesses.
According to Matthew Miller, Ph.D., from the University of Maryland, the generation gap experienced by many families and social networks is mainly characterized by conflict between children, parents and any other non-peer relatives. Arguments can occur over matters as mild as music taste to more serious lifestyle and career choices. For households who are both multigenerational and of a different culture, an interesting finding is that an age discrepancy can also be exacerbated by a gap in acculturation. While older generations may stick to their own traditions, newer ones will adopt new practices accepted by others outside of the family.
The gap between each generation impacts the lives administering treatment and care as well. In an informative 2006 article written by Lynn Wieck, Ph.D., and Peggy Landrum, Ph.D., the two nursing professors outline the four primary generations of the contemporary world and how interaction strategies should differ for each demographic. While the guidance is geared toward how treatment staff should interact with fellow employees to maintain their mental resilience, it also applies to and sheds light on the various developmental groups interacting within the health care field, including clients and their families:
- The Greatest Generation (1922-1945): Earning the title from their efforts in World War II, these people played a formative role in the United States’ establishment as a world power. They are characterized by strong traditional values centered on family and religion. Effective interactions include showing respect, detailing clear schedules and limiting the use of technology since many see electronic and digital advancement as a shortcut to hard work.
- Baby Boomers (1945-1960): Baby Boomers were given the name due to the heavy birth rate increase after WWII. Most are proponents of collective action shown by the civil rights movements of the era. With a large amount of peers growing up, Baby Boomers are also highly competitive and have often sacrificed to reach their goals. Most of the workforce are of this generation and utilize group dynamics to get results. Most of their frustration stems from burnout and a frustration with younger generations with low commitment.
- Generation X (1960-1980): In a direct reaction to their parents’ over-dedication, individuals of this generation are more concerned with finding an overall balance in their daily lives. As a result, these individuals change jobs frequently every few years, expect to learn different skills every step of the way and are more open to technology. In terms of interacting with them, Generation X is typically more self-centered, but responds well to praise and feedback.
- Millennials (1980-2000): The newest generation shares the group-oriented, collaborative spirit of their Baby Boomer parents and the balance-seeking goals of their older Generation X siblings. In addition, they also view the use of computers and technology as the norm. In regards to how Millennials interact with others, they are compromising and learn by experience rather than research. As a result, close attention and management has been shown to lead to stronger performance.
At Sovereign Health of California, the staff at our various residential facilities attend to the unique needs of those in recovery. Both adults and adolescents can undergo a set of in-depth, therapeutic strategies to address symptoms of mental disorders or addiction. To learn more about the options an individual can utilize, contact Sovereign Health online or call (866) 819-0427 for a better, more stable life.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer