Griffith University is leading the charge on evidence-based intergenerational practice in Australia, celebrating the mutual benefits of uniting young and old with Global Intergenerational Week.
Thanks to the Australian Institute of Intergenerational Practice (AIIP) in collaboration with Griffith University research team, aged-care and childcare across Australia are seeing a cultural shift and embracing the power of intergenerational process.
As national leader in the field, the AIIP team, consisting mostly of Griffith University researchers, developed the global standard and framework for intergenerational practice and continue to deliver Joining Old and Young (JOY) education programs to keep up with increasing demand for facilitator training.
Providing the consulting for Emmy Award-winning ABC TV series Old People’s Home For Four Year Olds, AIIP Founder Professor Emeritus Anneke Fitzgerald said connecting older generations with younger generations enables the sharing of knowledge and understanding.
“Global Intergenerational Week is an opportunity to recognise the strengths and contributions of all generations and build bridges between them,” Professor Emeritus Fitzgerald said.
“Society as a machine tends to corral us into groups defined by age which leaves us lacking perspective, and we’ve designed a powerful model for social impact that will alleviate many issues.
“It’s a chance to create a world where people of all ages are valued and respected, and where everyone can contribute to making their communities and the world a better place.
“We saw when older people join the program to connect with young people, they also built strong friendships between themselves, and this helps to combat loneliness and social isolation.
“We’ve also observed children with behavioural issues are thriving in the program due to the connection with their older friends.
“The AIIP team has consulted on many progressive for-profit projects such as The Herd, Echoes and Maranatha house, which have successfully implemented intergenerational practices.
“We are seeing a phenomenal change in Australian culture where early learning, schools and retirement providers are building centres side-by-side to take advantage of the social and economic benefits of intergenerational practice.”
Foundational member of AIIP, Intergenerational Learning Australia CEO Greg Cronan completed a Griffith Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree where he designed the for-profit model to facilitate reciprocal learning between school children and older persons.
“Australia is experiencing a crisis in aged care, and we need school leavers to feel positive about the potential of pursuing a career in aged care,” Mr Cronan said.
“The children in our programs develop a sense of empathy through their connections with older Australians and this will contribute to the development of a strong aged care workforce in the future.
“Our program fosters two-way interactions which enable meaningful connections, mental stimulation and gives people a sense of purpose.
“The positive outcomes may contribute to diminishing the severity of dementia, decreasing loneliness and boredom, and increases a sense of wellbeing.
“With ongoing support, older Australians in the program are engaged in lifelong learning and incorporating everyday skills into their lives, helping them to stay connected with friends, family, and the outside world through technology.
“In its fifth year, the Intergenerational Learning Australia program has been a great and the video conferencing approach has proved to be indispensable during the COVID pandemic.
“Measuring learning outcomes of the students demonstrated significant improvements in their oral and written communication skills plus their vocabulary.
After five interactions students learnt 91 new words and 72 new phrases. Teachers and parents also observed positive changes in the mood, behaviour and empathy.”
Global Intergenerational Week celebrations are designed to inspire connections and remind us to appreciate the enormous value in spending regular quality time with people of different generations.
Get involved with Global Intergenerational Week from 24 – 30 April 2023 and celebrate connections across generations with activities such as:
- Social media event: Make a Pom Pom and Pass it on – This is an easy, fun activity and here is a fact sheet on how to join in!
- GIW roundtable with Singapore. Follow the link to register
- Virtual events feature intergenerational relationships experts discussing social issues affecting different generations.
- Community service projects bringing young people and older adults together to work toward a common goal.