United for All Ages has published a new report on intergenerational living looking at how it can “ create a country for all ages”, and ending what it calls “ ageism apartheid”.
The report argues intergenerational projects could help tackle social problems such as poor health, loneliness, ageism and housing.
The report, Together in the 2020s focuses on the benefits for the next generation – children and young people who currently face a growing crisis of confidence, loneliness and anxiety, often fearful about the future, fragmented families, segregated by age, with cuts in services and financial support.
Intergenerational interaction between older and younger people can help address these issues – starting at an early age with nurseries and care homes linking, through schools, colleges and universities, to mentoring and community projects.
Together in the 2020s warns Britain is one of the most age segregated countries in the world and outlines 20 ways to tackle the generational divide.
The proposals include turning more care homes into community hubs, scaling up homesharing schemes for older and younger people, assessing all policies’ intergenerational impact, and redesigning the economy to make the most of the ageing society.
Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: ‘Bringing Britain together is one of the biggest challenges for the new decade. The last decade saw huge disconnection and division. The 2020s can be different. Ending ‘age apartheid’ and ageism and promoting more intergenerational mixing could help create a Britain for all ages by 2030 – united not divided.
‘More mixing between the generations is the way to build trust and understanding across our communities and our country. To make it happen requires not just vision and ambition, but also political will and leadership locally and nationally.’
Responding to the report Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Supporting and encouraging younger and older people to mix and learn more from each other can deliver many positive benefits, such as better understanding between generations, improved wellbeing, greater confidence and new skills.
“Councils know their local communities best and are making a big difference to people’s lives every single day, by providing spaces and opportunities for those of different generations to meet.
“This includes intergenerational day centres, cultural and sporting activities and local history projects.
“But they want to be able to do so much more, so that people of all ages including families can be healthier and happier, and communities more cohesive and safer.
“With the right powers and funding, councils can work with their residents of all ages, to help create places where people want to live and extra opportunities to bring communities together.”