On January 21, 2023, ACEEU designed an intergenerational activity as part of the PAGES project awareness campaign activity aimed at creating meaningful interactions between different generations and age groups. For this purpose, it was essential to gather in a space which feels safe and comfortable for each of the age groups who would be joining the activity. ACEEU designed the afternoon in collaboration with the Next Door project, an EU-funded project that aims at promoting social capital within neighbourhoods, fostering the protection of elderly citizens and increasing their levels of self-esteem and quality of life, in a café in the city centre of Münster, Germany, for a story-telling session. The merging of the two events was seen as a strategy to build synergy as both projects, PAGES and Next Door have similar objectives.
We extended the invitation to diverse target groups two weeks prior to the event to several student study groups, creative clubs, and senior homes and a total of 14 participants attended the event. There were Bachelors’ and Masters’ students in their 20s, and some professionals working in educational, social and medical sectors in their 30s, 30s and 40s. The idea of the social intergenerational afternoon was to encourage everyone to share stories from their own lives and communities of good practices in age-friendly neighbourhoods.
The initial discussions brought participants closer together as they began to identify their shared common values and an understanding of the need to have more age-friendly societies. The discussions were enriched by the group of people which included care workers in a nursing home and a doctor from the field of palliative care who raised concerns from their own experiences working with the elderly and common perceptions surrounding ageism in society and how it can go unnoticed and ignored unless all generations actively work together towards a future where there is increased awareness of the form's ageism takes.
To end the activity, the participants from the different generations shared more personal stories from their childhood of myths and cultural narratives surrounding how the elderly are treated. This exercise was intended to bring about a deeper sense of interest and acknowledgement of the place that members of different generations have in society and raise awareness of the shared experience of losing contact with the older generation as one grows up. Participants shared their feedback at the end through admiration for ACEEU’s efforts in bringing together different generations of people who might not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise and they reiterated the need to have more such activities in the future.