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Intergenerational Solidarity: The Importance of Good Collaboration between the Youth and Seniors

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It is said that unity is strength; and the subject of intergenerational solidarity is certainly no exception ! When younger and older people work together, many benefits can be observed on many different levels. Autonomy and health benefits for seniors, greater personal fulfillment, cross-age experience sharing, learning opportunities for young people, and even solutions to various social challenges are just a few examples of the many advantages of effective solidarity between generations.

What is intergenerational solidarity?

As suggested by its name, intergenerational solidarity implies close collaboration between people of all ages living in the same community. This concept could be defined as a series of actions and interactions, all intended to strengthen the relationships between the youth and seniors, to maximize the benefits for everyone.

Through a variety of activities, or sometimes even by introducing social initiatives, the aim of this mobilization remains the same: sharing ideas and experience, preventing social isolation of seniors, and enriching our collective knowledge.

In creating stronger links between generations, this concept implies that each individual in society may ultimately take advantage of it!

Benefits of intergenerational solidarity: a winning solution for all

At the heart of intergenerational solidarity lies the ability to enjoy numerous benefits for everyone in society.  From children to young adults, to the elderly and society in general, all can share in the positive effects of greater unity between the generations.

1. Precious avantages for young people

Intergenerational collaboration has proven to have valuable benefits for young people throughout many different aspects of their development:

  • Discovering a world of knowledge;
  • Learning from the experience of seniors;
  • Improving self-confidence;
  • Developing a strong sense of responsibility;
  • Helping young people to identify themselves through various social issues;
  • Enhance social abilities;
  • Develop a sharp critical sense;
  • Create intergenerational connections helping to reduce ageism and other social stereotypes.

Looking for a concrete example of the importance of this concept? For the 2022 International Youth Day, the Secretary-General of the United Nations highlighted the importance of intergenerational solidarity, and more specifically the involvement of the youth in collective decision-making, as well as in political and social life. Getting the youngest members of society more involved, either through specific projects or cross-generational activities, helps them to develop self-esteem, as well as providing an ideal opportunity to enrich their knowledge and skills. All in all, it represents the perfect opportunity for these young people to develop their full potential!

2. The benefits of intergenerational solidarity for seniors

When it comes to exchanges between different generations, seniors can benefit just as much! Indeed, the participation of the elderly population in cross-generational solidarity activities also has numerous positive outcomes:

  • Prevent the loss of autonomy of our elderly relatives;
  • Allow seniors to learn more about new technologies;
  • Promote a sense of belonging to society through the sharing of their own knowledge and experience;
  • Enhance self-esteem;
  • Avoid social isolation of seniors;
  • Give the perfect opportunity to stay active and in good overall health.

By offering them the chance to get involved in the community, intergenerational activities enable seniors to take part in rewarding exchanges and to play an integral part in society. And all of this has concrete beneficial effects on both their physical and psychological health. Being more active helps seniors to maintain greater independence, stay in better physical condition and escape the negative consequences of social isolation.

3. Advantages that benefit to community and society

In addition to the individual benefits for both seniors and young people, intergenerational interaction can also bring significant benefits to all of society:

  • Sharing historical and cultural heritage;
  • Participation of all age groups as active citizens regarding major social issues as climate change, poverty, sustainable development, etc.;
  • More representative decision-making by the majority of the population;
  • Reduction of social inequalities (ageism, gender inequality, racism, etc.);
  • Greater emphasis on the education of young people and the well-being of seniors;
  • Protection of the elderly population from social isolation and loneliness.

Through better collaboration between generations, in various aspects of life in society, it is possible to combine the strengths of each person. Ultimately, the aim is to secure a more prosperous collective future for all!

Intergenerational activities: some activities to consider

Looking for concrete examples of how to promote solidarity between older and younger people, whether in the family or within the community?

Here are a few suggestions of intergenerational activities, advantageous for all members of society:

  • Homework help for kids and teenagers;
  • Storytelling, tales and historical narratives;
  • Art projects and craft activities;
  • Introduction lessons for seniors about computers and technology given by younger people;
  • Gardening sessions while discussing about fundamental values such as respect for the environment, healthy eating and sustainable development;
  • Cooking with others to share quality experiences and learn the best culinary traditions;
  • Sharing intergenerational moments in the company of pets;
  • Organizing a talent show or a choral group featuring people of all ages (representing at the same time an excellent opportunity to preserve the cultural heritage and transmit it to the next generation);
  • Organizing community celebrations that enable active interaction between generations;
  • Participating in sports activities involving both young and older people;
  • Creating community projects where independent living retirement homes and childcare centers might share a part of daily activities.

Ultimately, regardless of the activity chosen, the most important thing is to create moments of exchange and union between all generations. From family time between grandparents and grandchildren, to community activities in which everyone can participate, each of these opportunities is likely to bring great benefits.

At Visavie, the benefits of this concept are important to us. Through greater intergenerational solidarity between young and seniors, we believe it is possible to prevent the isolation of the elderly within society, while encouraging active aging, focusing on preserving autonomy and healthy lifestyle habits of seniors daily. All this, combined with the advantage of passing on the knowledge and experience of our senior population to young people. In short, these are some key values that reflect Visavie‘s mission !

Interested in learning more useful tips and practical information? We invite you to explore Visavie‘s interesting blog section, entirely dedicated to seniors and their families.

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