Letting Go Of Age Segregation

What Is Age Segregation, Anyway?
Many people particularly younger people see older people as only looking out for themselves and viewing younger people as entitled and winey.
I read a statistic in a recent Wall Street Journal article that claimed that next year for the first time there will be more Americans over the age of 60 than under the age of 18! This trend will continue on into future decades.
What does this mean to are society? It could mean that more people will feel isolated and empowered and useless. The people I’m referring to are the older people. The author of the article called “Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide “feels that while this is going to be a challenging time for us”there’s a way of looking at this and more positive light. He’s optimistic about how the generations could work together creating bridges towards one another instead of away from one another. The author, Marc Friedman is the author of a book entitled “How To Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations”. “
Freedman’s position is one of optimism and feels that the needs of both generations can melt together into a wonderful type of pie. He looks to grandparents as evidence that evolutionary has given us the desires as we grow older to be nurturing. The younger need people who want to be nurturing because they need to be nurtured.
Past History
Back in the day, and I’m referring to the 19th century, few people knew about individuals chronological age! Imagine that nobody really cared about turning 65?
I’m sure you all remember reading about school houses that had one room and included students are various ages. Generations of families lived under one roof. When did all this change? Things changed when our society became more of an industrial society and universal schooling promoted the segregation of children by grade in age. Social Security started Medicare which promoted 65 as being the age to retire. Medicine improvements resulted in people livening longer resulting in retirement communities cropping up.
Today’s Dilemma
Ageism, is prevalent today and is a major problem. Younger people rarely encounter older people other than in a family situation. UCLA did a loneliness survey backed by Cigna. ItI determined that the two loneliest groups in our country today are younger people and older people. What could be done so that both groups can live together harmoniously? Let’s look at some other countries.
What’s Up in Asia?
Singapore has launched a multi billion dollar campaign to build a society with “intergenerational harmony “. The program involves having preschool share facilities with senior centers, recruit young people to teach technology to older people, and help other organizations make better use of older volunteers.
The UK started a program where people reading a financial times column over the age of 50 were asked by the columnist to quit their jobs and joined her training program to become teachers.
What’s Happening In The US?
Turns out There are lots of efforts in our country to bring the generations together.
Maine hosts an assisted living facility near a preschool which provides a built-in community of surrogate grandparents which the facility nicknamed the children’s grand friends.
Many colleges including Harvard Stanford and University of Minnesota have created curriculums that permit older students to take classes along side younger students which helps bring a new perspective to the discussion.
Southern Oregon created a grandma’s 2go campaign which helps train young people with babies on how to cope by utilizing the skills of those more experience.
Research has shown that those adults who live long lives are happier if they invest their time and efforts in nurturing the future generations.
Hopefully more programs will be created to bridge the gap!


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