Why Gen Y values Great relationships

In the age of social media, selfies and reality TV, young people can get a bad rap, but new research shows they value relationships.

While some may perceive Gen Y as narcissistic, a new survey found they’re more likely to regularly make time for their older loved ones or ‘Greats’ − grandparents, parents or a mentor − than any other generation. 

A Bupa survey found 6 out of 10 Gen Ys said they’d been in touch with their loved ones in the past 24 hours. 
This figure is greater than that of Gen X or the Baby Boomers.

It also found:

  • 87% of all Australians have a strong relationship with a parent, grandparent or mentor
  • 98% say spending time together is very important
  • 49% spend time in person
  • 25% connect over the phone

Brian’s story

32 year-old Brian Darcy realised how important his relationship with his mum and dad was when he returned to Australia after living abroad for six years later. 

“Shortly after moving back, mum had an accident and it really made me realise she's not going to be around forever. So I make sure I spend as much time with her and dad as I possibly can. Whether it's popping round for a coffee or just giving them a quick call, I make sure I check in with them most days." he says. 

As one of nine children, Brian has also grown to appreciate the sacrifices his parents made for his family. 

“They went out of their way to make a good life for me and my brothers and sisters, and teach us some great values.”
Brian Darcy with parents

The benefits

Bupa Australia and New Zealand National Medical Director Rob Grenfell says spending time with a parent, grandparent or mentor isn’t only important personally, but it can be good for our overall wellbeing.

“Active participation in our relationships is linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes across all ages,” say Dr Grenfell.
 This was reflected in the survey which found people who connect with their loved ones felt loved, encouraged and supported.

 “It’s good for wellbeing but it’s also an opportunity to ensure our loved ones feel empowered and supported in their own health and care, and this is particularly important as we get older,” he says. 

Making a change

The survey also found a gap between individual and community perspectives on the importance of keeping connected as we get older. 

Just over half of those surveyed said they felt the wider community values people less as they age. 

“We need to address this disconnect and redefine community perceptions of ageing, particularly with an increasingly ageing population,” say Dr Grenfell. 

“The approach we are taking in our personal relationships with our Greats needs to extend to our communities,” he says
“Connecting may seem a small step; however it’s important our loved ones feel purposeful and valued,” said Dr Grenfell. 
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