Topic 3 Examples of effective interaction between youth and elder

Some skills and ways to effectively interact in an intergenerational setting are:

  • Asking a question
  • Making eye contact
  • Positive and negative assertion
  • Making apologies
  • Expressing affection

Both parties should appreciate the fact that intergenerational learning is a relationship of mutual love and support.

Some activities that could promote communication and interaction between youth and elder are (Nguyen et al.):

  • shared leisure time activities
  • play cards
  • watch TV together
  • play computer games

Here we present some examples of projects, succeeding in promoting the interaction between elder and youth groups:

  • Nguyen et al. (2015) tried to bridge the digital generation gap between generations through a training programme. They have recruited elderly people from different background as well as youth volunteers aged from 10-15 years old. The project involved weekly interaction sections over three months, and each elderly person was assigned to team up with one young person. A particular game was chosen for participants to engage with and their communication and interaction were observed through interviews and questionnaires. The results of this study contributes to link between communication and social games – it has been concluded that the use of social games emphasise intergenerational interaction and communication between the young and the elderly. Such games give more opportunities for intergenerational interaction and increase the motivation for communication among participants.
  • Another example where younger and older generations effectively interact is the project “History Alive!” ran by Elders Share the Arts (ESTA). This project encourages communication with the different generations by creating a space for dialogue about their commonalities and differences. Participants are selected from local schools and senior citizen community and they are given a topic for discussion. The participants can discuss the topics using theater arts, visual arts, storytelling and writing and according to the executive director of ESTA the benefits of this project are numerous; elder people learn presentation skills and improve their English (if English is their Second Language), and they get to share their life stories with another generation. The young people on the other hand, learn to respect the elders and view them as part of the community and they become more engaged with elder issues (Neugass H., Beete P. 2015).

Nguyen, H.T., Tapanaine, T., Theng Y.L., Lundberg S., & Luimula M. 2015. Fostering communication between the elderly and the youth with social games. AIS Electronic Library. Retrieved from

Neugass H., Beete P. 2015. Spotlight on Elders Share the Arts and History Alive!. Retrieved from

  • In another study conducted in Spain, researchers tried to review the effectiveness of 133 intergenerational projects. Here are their findings from the preliminary results:
    • both young and older people had increased curiosity and discovery for new realities
    • older persons were motivated to learn new things
    • both groups engaged in teaching and learning
    • there was mutual support
    • younger people showed more respect for older people