Benefits and definitions
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)
As the above definition suggests intergenerational work has to be reciprocal and should have positives for the older and younger generations plus their local communities. It is important however to recognise the wider impacts of this valuable work. An intergenerational approach planned and delivered thoroughly can achieve very positive results addressing local community concerns, priorities and challenges. Benefits can be much wider reaching than initially envisaged and it is important to remember to identify these as they happen.
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.