Intergenerational Practice

Glossary of terms

There are a number of definitions and descriptors used for intergenerational practice, most share an affinity to the commonly used international definition:

Intergenerational practice aims to bring people together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities which promote greater understanding and respect between generations and contributes to building more cohesive communities. Intergenerational practice is inclusive, building on the positive resources that the younger and older have to offer each other and those around them. (Beth Johnson Foundation, 2009)

This definition acknowledges the importance of bringing younger and older people together, but sees this in the wider context of a community constructed from a number of generations.

Intergenerational care is the practice of bringing together the young and elderly (creating opportunities for care to become the main focus of an intergenerational relationship).

Intergenerational learning is the way that people of all ages can learn together and from each other. It is an important part of Lifelong Learning, where the generations work together to gain skills, values and knowledge. Beyond the transfer of knowledge it fosters reciprocal learning relationships between different generations and helps develop social capital and social cohesion in our ageing societies.