“Today people are so disconnected that they feel they are blades of grass, but when they know who their grandparents and great-grandparents were, they become trees; they have roots; they can no longer be mowed down.” — Maya Angelou
Bridges Together Inc. advocates for the creation, successful implementation and proliferation of intergenerational programs.
What are intergenerational programs? And why are they important?
In recent decades, important connections between generations have been broken. Routine interaction between older adults and children is no longer commonplace in American communities – and even within many families.
These societal shifts are problematic, as American demographics are changing:
• By 2050, adults over the age of 65 will outnumber children under the age of 15.
• Currently, 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day; they can expect to live to be 85.
• Girls born in the 1990s can expect to live to be over 100 years of age and live into the 22nd century.
There’s no two ways about it: Our youth will be working with and caring for older adults. They will be the ones to design solutions for this aging population.
We believe that intergenerational programs are part of the solution.
Strong intergenerational programs unite “bookend generations” – that is, members of skipped generations, sometimes called old and young – in meaningful, mutually beneficial activities that promote understanding and learning from each other. (For a list of purposeful intergenerational activities – from A-Z – click here.)
Strong intergenerational (IG) programs empower children to:
• Aspire to be active, healthy older adults;
• Begin career exploration—especially working with or for older adults;
• Create seeds of compassion and respect for elders;
• Delight in being treasured by an older adult.
Strong IG programs empower older adults to:
- Engage with children in organized activities;
- Foster cultural continuity — helping to ensure that values, traditions and expertise will continue in future generations;
- Garner time to reflect on their lives and share their knowledge and life stories;
- Help support a meaningful, active, rewarding, healthy lifestyle.
Find out how to unite children and older adults in your own community by contacting us via email or at 978.793.9650.