Getting to know people that are different from us – whether
in age, abilities or background – can always open our eyes,
and break down misconceptions. How can we create more
Intergenerational connections is a big term, which really just means
living together in a community or a family. An easy way to think about
connecting is to just take age out of the equation. We’re going faster
and faster in society. Families hardly even sit around the kitchen
table together anymore. So we all have to be more mindful about
connecting. If anything, we have toomany connections, partly because
of technology, and not enough actual relationships.
It’s all about just talking to someone, and being interested in what
they’re doing. That can happen anywhere, with anyone, of any age.
There are many great intergenerational programs, but sometimes it’s
as simple as starting a conversation. I may not understand what it’s
like to be 90, but, that shouldn’t stop me from having a relationship
with someone who’s 90.
It’s everyone’s responsibility, younger and older, to reach out to
someone else with openness and curiosity. You can always learn
something from them, and they may learn something about you too.
When we notice and talk to each other more, that itself builds a more
Dr. Jane Barratt
the Secretary General
of the International
Federation on Ageing (IFA),
headquartered in Toronto.
The IFA strives to help
shape and influence policy
and practices that improve
the quality of life of
If you have a question for
Dr. Barratt, please contact us at