As National Intergeneration Week comes to a close this Sunday (March 14), Noel Verbruggen, MD of technology firm StackCare, discusses the importance of meaningful interactions between younger and older generations.
In its second year, National Intergenerational Week seeks to highlight the benefits that people of different ages can bring to each other – and their communities – by interacting.
The campaign touches on something that, particularly as we get older, most of us know – experience that comes with age is something that our younger friends and neighbours can all benefit from.
The same is true in reverse – the young often have much to teach the rest of us and we can learn from their fresh perspectives and different attitudes and thinking. Not to mention their expertise with technology.
Communities made up of a mix of ages are often our most vibrant and engaged place to live. The government has recognised this and, increasingly, we’re seeing new housing being built for older residents in the centres of our towns and villages, at the heart of the local community, not out on the outskirts, where they are cut off from the comings and goings of daily life around them.
This is to be welcomed by all of us, and particularly by those older people who want to live independently, in their own homes. Maintaining that independence for longer can have definite benefits to both their mental and physical wellbeing as they remain engaged and active in the communities they know and love.
Alongside the developments we’re seeing in housing, the ability for older people to stay at home has been made possible due to the huge strides forward we’ve witnessed in technology. As carers will know, there is a huge range of IT options to help older people live independently at home. There are artificial intelligence and machine-learning enabled solutions that we couldn’t have imagined only a few years ago and are now increasingly popular and playing a massive role in enabling independence. We can also interact with and keep an eye on our older loved ones far more easily nowadays – essential for both the elderly relatives and their family’s peace of mind.
It’s encouraging to think that the trend we’ve seen for creating age-diverse communities is how the future will look. However, we need to better recognise the value that older people bring to our communities – as an ageing population we should all care about how we treat and view our aged citizens and how they are integrated into wider society.
Intergenerational Week prompts us to give that some thought, and if it helps more people realise the benefits of age-diverse communities then we’ll all be the better for it.