Pathways to Sustainable Intergenerational Programs: Lessons from Portugal


Despite the fundamental role given to the sustainability of intergenerational programming regarding their demonstrated impact on an ageing society, only a few studies have undertaken an exploration of the qualitative core dimensions of sustainable intergenerational programs. This article addresses how the sustainability of educational intergenerational programs relates to why and how intergenerational program managers in the Portuguese area of Porto may have developed different attitudes and beliefs around adequate implementation of the programs.

Drawing on qualitative interview data of a four-case fieldwork study conducted in Porto, Portugal, the study examines autonomy, empowerment, and intergenerational relationships as dimensions other than time duration behind program sustainability. Attention to the managers’ narratives on how intergenerational programs are implemented can help to explain why some dimensions are more highlighted than others.

A qualitative analysis of intergenerational program sustainability, it is argued, offers considerable findings which provide opportunities to its implementation and intersection with managers’ beliefs. Findings suggest a need to de-emphasize both time duration and managers’ persona as the key for sustainability. We recommend intergenerational program sustainability as an area for future theorizing through providing a conceptualizing framework that might go beyond the normative focus on its duration and into the relational nature of these programs.

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Azevedo, C. and Sánchez, M. Pathways to Sustainable Intergenerational Programs: Lessons Learned from Portugal. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6626