The wisdom of the ages


Seek the wisdom of the ages but look at the world through the eyes of a child (R.Wild)

Many societies have changed over time with fewer families living near or spending time with older family members. There is an increasing disconnection between the younger and older generations which has not been helped by negative stereotyping of ageing – particularly through the media1. This can be changed – let’s explore the opportunities to value the interactions across the ages.

Young Children and their Communities1 bring views from different experts across different areas with chapter 6 exploring intergenerational practice and how it can lead to sustainable communities. The learning, skills, sharing, experiences benefit both the young and old1. This is further supported in a study on intergenerational playgroup programs (IPP) in aged care settings which demonstrated interaction and connection between people of different generations with outcomes of meaningful engagement, participation and increased dignity of the elderly2.

‘Grandfriends’ and similar projects aim to utilise the skills and wisdom of the elderly by linking them with young children who may not have grandparents nearby to provide purpose and connections3. Many guidelines are available to develop a range of programs to suit young and old alike4,5. It is possible to create vibrant and lively intergenerational communities within our aged care settings. If you currently don’t, why not start one now?

In youth we learn. In age we understand. (M. von Ebner Eschenbach)



1.      Sykes, G. (Ed.), Teszenyi, E. (Ed.), Eunice, L. (2018). Young Children and Their Communities. London: Routledge.

2.      Skropeta, M., Colvin, A. and Sladen, S. (2014). An evaluative study of the benefits of participating in intergenerational playgroups in aged care for older people. BMC Geriatrics          14:109.

3.      Rubin, S. (2016). PALETTE: An Intergenerational Art Program to Improve Health Care Delivery and Health Outcomes of Older Adults. Age in Action, 31(1), 1-6.

4.      Kern, Petra & Detmer, Michael. (2017). Implementing an Intergenerational Music Therapy Program. Imagine. 8. 60-65.

5.      Aemmi SZ, Karimi Moonaghi H. (2017) Intergenerational Learning Program: A Bridge between Generations. Int J Pediatr 5(12): 6713-21. DOI: 10.22038/ijp.2017.28072.2430

KnowledgeAmy Bosnar