The media too often highlights differences between generations, millennial vs. boomer for example, choosing to pit generations against each other and cast blame for various social ills. This fabricated tension draws attention away from the strength of intergenerational relationships, a far more positive discussion highlighting the health and social benefits of intergenerational programming.
The benefits of intergenerational programming extend to all who participate. Recently, the New York Times reported that a survey of intergenerational program participants reported benefits for older adults including decreased loneliness, increased levels of engagement, and feelings of happiness, interest, and love. For younger people, the survey found higher demonstrated levels of empathy and a greater ability to regulate behaviour.
The survey – conducted by Generations United and the Eisner Foundation – reviewed 180 intergenerational programs and reported that “Shared sites can create new environments to confront ageism, break down the barriers of age-segregation and forge long-lasting and life-changing intergenerational bonds.”
IFA Expert and Generations United Executive Director Donna Butts is leading Generations United in work on intergenerational connections, including intergenerational programs and relationships. She also regularly speaks on the importance of implementing effective policies across the lifespan.
Ms. Butts is a strong advocate for intergenerational relationships, raising awareness of the advantages these relationships can bring. She points out that intergenerational programming is “the wave of the future among senior housing providers,” and already includes such programs as daycares in nursing homes, and shared accommodations between students and older people, which promote good mental and physical health.
To discover the benefits of intergenerational connections, and to learn more about the work being done at Generations United, contact IFA Expert Ms. Donna Butts through the IFA Expert Centre or attend the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing to learn of the latest developments in intergenerational programming.
Ms. Donna Butts Executive Director
Ms. Butts frequently speaks on intergenerational connections, grandparents raising grandchildren and policies effective across the lifespan.