Bringing Young and Old Together – A Win/Win for Communities

Projects around the world are highlighting the benefits of connecting our youngest and oldest generations within their local communities.

Whether it be the integration of a preschool with an aged care facility, combining student accommodation with older people’s residences, or simply young people visiting elderly neighbours - the benefits are enormous.

In past years, extended families shared the same home, or lived in the same neighbourhood, providing many opportunities for the valuable connection between young and old. However, Australian families today tend to live independently with elderly parents often residing on their own or in aged care facilities.

Developing connections with a younger generation can help older adults feel a greater sense of fulfillment. In fact, linking adults with youth can provide advantages for both groups, such as: • Providing opportunities for both to learn new skills • Both generations are entertained • Giving the child and the older adult a sense of purpose • Reducing the isolation of older adults • Children developing positive attitudes toward aging and a sense of purpose and community service • Older adults learn new innovations and technologies from their younger counterparts • Helping to alleviate fears children may have of the elderly • Invigorating and energising older adults • Helping to reduce the likelihood of depression in the elderly • Filling a void for children who do not have grandparents available to them • Helping to keep family stories and history alive So after reading this article, you may see some opportunities to make a difference in the life of some young people or older people within your community. Perhaps you could organize a visit to an aged care facility with your children, or make friends with an elderly neighbour and schedule a fortnightly cuppa. I’m sure it will be a win/win for everyone involved :)

2inspire has developed programs and tools to encourage children and the elderly to interact on a regular basis in their local community. Visit www.2-inspire.com.au to learn more.

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