“I don’t have any older friends so I’m hoping I can make one here”.
These were the words of a year six student who took part in the first session of the Intergenerational Pilot program, In2Generations, held earlier this week.
Inspired by the ABC television series Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds and in an effort to address the increasing levels of social isolation and loneliness in older Australians, LiveBetter has partnered with Inclusee to develop and run a pilot program which will digitally connect year six students from All Hallows’ School in Brisbane with LiveBetter Ageing customers based in Orange.
The aim of In2Generations is to reduce social isolation and loneliness in Older Australians, foster compassion and learning between generations, reduce ageism and improve communication skills for school aged children.
“A third of all senior Australians live alone and may experience loneliness,” says Kellie Martin, LiveBetter’s Philanthropy and Partnerships Manager. “Feeling connected is critical to maintaining health and wellbeing. Contributing to the social capital of our communities and developing opportunities which allow people to give back can increase peoples feeling of connectedness.”
The In2Generations program will connect LiveBetter’s Ageing customers with the year six students via video chat each week using a tablet provided by Inclusee. The older and younger participants will have the opportunity to share stories and ask questions; to develop a deeper connection and maybe build a bridge spanning the generational divide.
According to Inclusee Engagement Manager, Tatia Power “Intergenerational Programs provide learning opportunities for both younger and older participants as they share details of their drastically different experiences in life.”
“Studies have shown that cross-generational friendships build empathy, reduces stereotyping, and improve people’s sense of purpose.”.
It is hoped that this six-week intergenerational pilot program will foster greater connection to community for everyone involved, and will go on to be replicated, and expanded across other regional areas in the future.
You can learn more about Inclusee by visiting inclusee.org.au