Intergenerational Activity is a hot field of research and we are proud to be working with Dr Jennie Ferrell from the University of the West of England.
In the last century, societal changes have meant that more generations are living apart and interacting less, which may result in less support and understanding across generations, as well as an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation (Newman, 1980). Research on intergenerational contact has found that activities shared among multiple generations can be beneficial for the health and wellbeing for older adults, children and their caregivers.
For example, previous research evaluating an intergenerational playgroup setting with care home residents (older adults) and preschool aged children (0-4) found that the experience was positive and allowed for more feelings of ‘connection’ by both care home residents and the parents/carers who attended the sessions (Skropeta et al., 2014). Intergenerational programmes have also been found to improve a sense of ‘meaningfulness’ for older adults (Murayama et al, 2015). Other researchers have also found benefits for children who engage in intergenerational activities as pre-schoolers, such as more positive attitudes toward older adults, more empathy toward older adults, and more self-regulation in general (Femia et al., 2008; Heyman et al., 2011) with effects lasting past the experience into after they started attending school.
However, findings on the benefits of intergenerational programmes have been mixed due to the variety of types of programmes and types of activities used for intergenerational contact. We hope to build the knowledge of not only exploring the benefits of intergenerational contact, but further explore the best activities to promote wellbeing and positive attitudes in all generations involved, and find the best methods for evaluating such programmes through our own research.
If you are interested in research in this area and would like to be involved with our project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org