Meet the together2 Intergenerational Program! This month we started a 4-week program to help promote social wellbeing for both youth and elderly in our local Rozelle community through a range of fun activities where everyone gets involved. Why? Because social isolation and its impact on wellbeing is a big deal and affects both young and old. So we are doing something about it!
The goal of this program is to encourage bonding, connection and communication between both generations. We’ve designed it to help everyone learn new skills, while promoting an understanding between the generations to help dispel negative stereotypes and reduce social isolation. It’s a big goal, but if day one is any indication – we’ll get there.
Day One – we’d call that a success!
Eight Year 10 Sydney Secondary Students from Leichhardt attended day one of our 4-week program along with some of our wonderful senior ladies who are frequent visitors to the together2 centre.
Today was all about getting to know one another. While at first, many were a little nervous about the program and if they would be able to get on with each other, it turned out to be a fun and fulfilling day for everybody – with plenty of opportunities to connect in a variety of ways.
Some of the games and activities we tested out were:
- Speed Friendships: Like speed dating but without the romance, students went around the room introducing themselves to all the elderly participants. Thanks to the use of conversation cards, it was easy to get the ‘friendships’ started!
- ‘Get to know you’ Bingo: Instead of numbers, personality traits and life experiences were used for the bingo cards – and the first group to match 5 traits in a row and yell “Bingo” won! One of the most hilarious questions was ‘Cross off your name if you have a VHS at home’. There was a big gasp in the room from the seniors as most of the 15-year-olds had no idea what a VHS player was!
- Jenga Water Challenge: This was a team Game where all participants must fill a cup to the brim without it spilling – and that was just as entertaining (and damp) as you would imagine!
- Music Trivia: This trivia game used music from all generations, introducing both generations to new music and was labeled a success by all!
We are so excited to see how the next 3 weeks go and to watch the bonds that form between both generations. We hope this program is the first of many – so watch this space!
Want to know more?
We are really passionate about the importance of this program, so here is a little bit more on the issues that it solves!
We want to connect the young and old together to:
Reduce Social Isolation
Social isolation is a common issue among senior citizens, and it can have significant negative impacts on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Some of the issues associated with social isolation in senior citizens include:
Increased risk of health problems: Social isolation has been linked to an increased risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and cognitive decline. It can also negatively impact physical mobility and overall health.
Lack of support: Senior citizens who are isolated may not have access to the support and assistance they need, such as help with tasks such as grocery shopping or transportation. This can make it difficult for them to maintain their independence and quality of life.
Loneliness and depression: Social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, which can negatively impact mental health and overall well-being.
Limited access to resources: Isolated seniors may have limited access to resources and activities that can improve their quality of life, such as social events, recreational activities, and healthcare services.
Overall, social isolation can have significant negative impacts on senior citizens, and it is important to address this issue in order to improve the health and well-being of this population.
Create Engaged and Emotionally-Intelligent Youth
Why is it so important to connect young people and senior citizens?
- Intergenerational relationships can help to break down stereotypes and prejudices that people may have about different age groups.
- Older people can serve as role models and mentors for young people, sharing their life experiences and wisdom. Some young people don’t have the benefit of grandparent-figures in their lives, and this type of program is a great way to connect them!
- Young people can help to keep older people socially connected and engaged, which can be especially important for those who may be isolated or lonely.
- Intergenerational interactions can also promote a greater sense of community and social cohesion.
- Connecting young people and senior citizens can also have positive impacts on mental and physical health for both groups. For example, social connections and engagement have been linked to improved mental and physical health outcomes in older adults, while younger people may benefit from learning about history and culture from older people.
Increase Social Wellbeing
Nope, this is not some meaningless jargon but an absolutely essential part of creating happy, healthy and engaged young people!
Social wellbeing is simply the extent of how individuals feel connected to and supported by their community, and is an important factor in the overall wellbeing of our young people.
Here are several aspects of ‘social wellbeing’ for young people:
Social connections: Having strong social connections with friends and family can provide young people with a sense of belonging, support, and companionship.
Social support: Having access to social support, such as help and advice from friends and family, can help young people to cope with challenges and stressors. And having the support of older people, from grandparents to family friends, is a big part of well-rounded social support.
Social norms and values: Being a part of a community that shares common norms and values can provide a sense of identity and purpose for young people.
Participation in social activities: Engaging in social activities, such as clubs, sports, or volunteering, can provide young people with opportunities to make new friends and contribute to their community.
Social inclusion: Feeling included and accepted by others can contribute to young people’s sense of social wellbeing.
In short, and without any jargon needed, a strong sense of social wellbeing helps young people to feel connected and supported – making a massive and important difference to their mental and physical health.
Can you see why we are so excited about this?
If you, your school, aged care facility or other group would like to explore getting involved or having us run a program for or with you – just get in touch with our team here!