Bridging the generational gap

The concept of “non-familial intergenerational interactions” is centered around the seemingly simple idea that old and young can bring new energy, knowledge and enthusiasm to each other’s lives. It may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but research has proven that these interactions can have fantastic benefits for each generation.

In Australia and the UK studies have shown that activities that include children and older adults can increase selfesteem and promote friendships.

In Japan, shared play activities have been found to result in greater smiles and more conversation for elders. Intergenerational activities show elders that they are valued as individuals that still possess lifelong skills rather than just being passive recipients of care. The little ones bring a new sense of vibrancy and fun and the focus is no longer on watching time pass but on living in the moment.

These days extended families are separated by distance and time, but programmes that bring children and older adults together could change the whole of society’s outlook. Children are the worlds’ future but that doesn’t mean we should consign older generations to the past.

Article by CatrinHedd Jones, Lecturer, Bangor University. Republished under Creative Commons licence

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