The Growing Trend of Parent-Child Dependency
Spring Cleaning for Your Retirement Budget

Closing the Generation Gap to Combat Ageism

1765_093ecb42e2f795cOne of the persistent realities of ageism is the obvious schism between old and young. Aging boomers are sometimes confronted with reactions from younger generations that are insulting (sometimes unwittingly) if not rude. A common example is when a younger associate at a retail store calls an older customer "dear" or "honey." On the other side, older people might scoff at what they perceive to be the "laziness" of younger generations.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an important way to combat ageism is by closing the generation gap or, in their language, to utilize "intergenerational practice." This concept consists of  engaging old and young generations in "mutually beneficial activities that promote greater understanding and respect."

Here are the "seven levels of intergenerational contact" offered by the organization as starting points. These levels increase in intensity, but any can be an appropriate place to start closing the generation gap, promoting better understanding between older and  younger generations, and contribute to the reduction of ageism.

  1. Learn about the age group
    Participants discuss "age" in relation to another generation, explore aspects of the lives of that age group and express their views, perceptions and assumptions
  2. Seeing the other age group but at a distance
    Younger and older people learn about the other age group and connect positively, with no face-to-face contact
  3. Meeting each other
    Younger and older people meet for the first time but not as part of a structured intergenerational activity
  4. Annual or periodic activities
    Annual or regular meetings organized as part of established events in a local community or an organizational celebration, such as "World Children's Day"
  5. Demonstration projects
    Regular meetings and shared activities to promote the formation of relationships, with dialogue, sharing and learning among different age groups
  6. Regular intergenerational programs
    Programs that have been demonstrated to be successful or valuable from the perspective of the participants, integrated into their general activities and maintained as part of working practices and approaches
  7. Intergenerational community settings
    The values of intergenerational interaction are introduced into the planning, development and functioning of communities.

WHO has published a free comprehensive "Connecting Generations" guide that offers a wealth of information about intergenerational practice. You can get it here.

Image from is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)