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Thriving Together – It’s Time for Authentic Intergenerational Collaboration


 Thriving Together – It’s Time for Authentic Intergenerational Collaboration

BY LINSEY FARRELL

Denmark, like many parts of the world, grapples with a crisis of loneliness among its older population. In response, initiatives like Cycling Without Age have emerged as solutions to connect generations and combat social isolation. The challenge was clear: how to break the cycle of loneliness affecting seniors. By pairing volunteers with older individuals for leisurely bike rides, this initiative not only addressed the immediate need for companionship but also became a catalyst for transforming societal perceptions about the capabilities and contributions of older people. Cycling Without Age exemplifies the steps identified in our recently published guide: “Thrive Together: A Changemaking Guide to Intergenerational Collaboration.”

 

The Thrive Together Guide is aimed at both individual changemakers, and those who aren’t affiliated with a particular organization, as well as institutions that are taking on the challenge of intergenerational collaboration and looking for ideas, inspiration, and practical tools. The global population aged 65 and older now surpasses the number of individuals below the age of five, presenting a megatrend reshaping our future. Amid the paradox of digital connectivity, loneliness and social isolation have become a public health emergency. Rudolph Taniz’s SHIELD approach to healthy aging emphasizes Sleep, Handling Stress, Interacting with Friends, Exercising Daily, Learning New Things, and Eating a Healthy Diet. However, the missing link lies in intergenerational connection. Based on insights from innovators and leaders, our guide offers practical tools for intergenerational work.

The four-step path to collaboration begins with Discover: Seeking Connections Beyond Age, breaking free from age confines to recognize shared values. Engage: Collaborating Across Generations emphasizes working hand in hand, pooling collective strengths. Build: Creating Cohesive Communities advocates deliberate efforts to thrive with age diversity. Evoke: Challenging Stereotypes reshapes perceptions through narratives celebrating experience, innovation, and wisdom.

The guide’s 13 tools, adaptable and categorized by difficulty, address ageism, community disconnection, individualism, education, socialization, and inequity. From fostering collaboration to combating stereotypes, the tools offer practical solutions. You do not even have to belong to a formal organization or institution to try many of them out.

In conclusion, the Thrive Together Guide envisions a world where everyone recognizes their role and contribution. By embracing intergenerational collaboration, we can rewrite societal narratives, break free from ageism, and create a future where everyone feels they have a role to play in connecting across generations. It’s not just a manual; it’s an invitation for change. Will you embark on a journey towards a world where diverse age groups are deeply connected, collaborating, and thriving together?

Thrive Together was developed in collaboration with Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs in the world.

Download Thrive Together HERE 

 Learn more about the work of the Grandmother Collective, including additional resources and upcoming online events HERE. 

Dr. Lynsey Farrell is a cultural anthropologist and supporter of change-making everywhere. She co-founded the Grandmother Collective to shine a light on the power of older women in societies around the world to make effective, sustainable, and lasting change in their communities.

 

Read more from Dr. Farrell in GRAND here.

Dr. Lynsey Farrell

About the author

Dr. Lynsey Farrell is a cultural anthropologist and supporter of change-making everywhere. She co-founded the Grandmother Collective to shine a light on the power of older women in societies around the world to make effective, sustainable, and lasting change in their communities.

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