Age Apartheid. What is it? What can we do about it? And will it really benefit our children?
Age Apartheid is our buzz word for January, there are lots of articles in papers and magazines about the issue, but what is it?
Age Apartheid is the term used to describe the segregation of generations in Britain. According to new reports, the UK is one of the most age-segregated places in the world. People’s interactions outside of the home are almost exclusively with members of their own age group and this could lead to detrimental impacts on our society.
You might have seen the recent Christmas Special of Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, in association with Age UK which has helped to push the issue of Age Apartheid into the spotlight. If you haven’t, check it out here:
The programme gives us a heart-warming view into an experiment in Bristol where a group of 4 year olds are invited into an old people’s home to see what impact they have on the older generation. It’s well worth a watch. But the programme’s conclusions are geared towards the social and physical impact on the older group and don’t go into detail about the effect on the young children.
What benefit does interaction with the elderly have on preschool children?
- Social Development
Interacting with the elderly is fantastic for children’s social development. They have often not spent a lot of time interacting with the older generation outside of their home and new experiences like this are a great way for children to practice the social skills they’ve picked up.
- Understanding Diversity
Many of the older generation have mobility issues and children quickly realise that their new friends are a little different to the adults they are used to. Children learn to take care around the elderly and start to understand that people have different physical abilities.
- Positive Reinforcement
The older generation often observes children without judgement. They shower children with positive reinforcements, not just through their words but also through their actions and gaze.
After developing all of the above points, children are left with an increase in self-confidence. They are buoyed by the positive interactions they have with the elderly and feel valued and important.
We think that integrated care is a fantastic idea that can only benefit our society.
For more information read Mixing Matters, a report by United for All Ages on how shared sites can bring older and younger people together and unite Brexit Britain.
Or visit the website of Apples & Honey Nightingale House, the UK’s first integrated care home nursery: