The purpose of the research was to examine enablers and barriers to successful intergenerational practice.

Intergenerational practices (IP) are activities that aim to bring people together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities. These aim to promote greater understanding and respect between generations and contribute to building communities that are more cohesive.

Key findings

  • IP can be considered as a continuum of contact between different generations. IP varies from low-level interventions such as one-off events through to high-level interventions where activities are embedded into community settings.
  • There is a relationship between social isolation and loneliness, and various other factors associated with well-being. 
  • The case studies indicate that IP does more to reduce social isolation (lack of social connections) than loneliness (perceived isolation).
  • Various enablers are identified that contribute to effective operation of IP (e.g. a visionary leader, a focused perspective). Barriers that hinder action were also identified (e.g. time, planning, logistics).
  • IP may offer many benefits for people across different ages. Such practices should not focus purely on the benefits for older people. Rather IP should focus on, communities as a whole and people of all ages.
  • There were different benefits identified between three main age groups (children/young people, adults and older people). For instance, levels of loneliness/social isolation were reduced. Health (mental and physical) and well-being was improved in adults and older people. Whereas children and young people reported improved confidence and knowledge. 
  • Some subgroups are more likely to participate in IP than others (women compared to men). While some intergenerational practices target specific audiences, some subgroups are harder to engage in such activities.
  • There were benefits of IP at the community level such as improved connections and an increased sense of belonging.
     

Reports

Review of key mechanisms in intergenerational practices, and their effectiveness at reducing loneliness/social isolation
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Review of key mechanisms in intergenerational practices, and their effectiveness at reducing loneliness/social isolation: summary
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Contact

Ellie Brodie

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Media

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