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  • Writer's pictureDr Carole Easton OBE

Building Bridges Across Generations: Centre for Ageing Better's Journey Towards Inclusivity and Age Positivity

What does intergenerational connection mean to you?

Intergenerational connection means the opportunity for people to engage with others of any age and any other personal characteristics without impediment or judgement. It means that services are based on need and impact and not driven by the negative views of older age or stereotypes about age at all. It means that work and training opportunities are offered on the basis of potential and skill rather than stereotypical views of people of different ages.   

Intergenerational connection involves tackling ageism directed at people of all ages and internalised ageism. Young and older people judge themselves and others based solely on their age and apply stereotypes. People in the workplace discriminate against young and older people on the grounds of age. Our Age Without Limits campaign is encouraging people of all ages to stop and think about how they view themselves and older people and to challenge the pervasive negative stereotypes to which we have all been exposed.  

Everyone has the right to a good life as they get older and when they do, our whole society benefits. But far too many people face huge barriers that prevent them from doing so. As a result, many older people are living in bad housing, dealing with poverty and poor health. We also know that many are made to feel invisible in their communities and society. This isolates them from younger people and impedes intergenerational relationships. 

Ageism, often seen through discrimination in employment, stark inequalities in people’s health and financial circumstances, chronic underinvestment in helping people to age well and a lack of political focus – are all contributing to this growing and critical problem. 

At the Centre for Ageing Better we are pioneering ways to make ageing better a reality for everyone.

We do this by:

  • inspiring and informing  those in power to tackle the inequalities faced by older people 

  • calling out and challenge ageism in all its forms 

  • encouraging the widespread take-up of brilliant ideas and approaches that help people to age better. 

Our work is designed to impact on health, financial security and increased inclusion and fairness for older people. This includes the opportunities for intergenerational activities and relationships. 


Our three areas of focus are: 

  1. Helping people to continue working as they grow older.  Many people want or need to continue working as they get older but face barriers – and many sectors face skill shortages or unfilled vacancies. We work with Government, policymakers and employers to create the right conditions for more people over 50 to be in fulfilling work.  .  

  1. Making sure that everyone can live in a safe, secure and accessible home, as they get older.  

  1. Building an age friendly movement so that more places are inclusive of people of all ages and to challenge ageist thinking and behaviours.


Does intergenerational thinking take place?

At the Centre for Ageing Better all our work entails intergenerational thinking. We run the network of Age Friendly Communities around the UK, all of which are implementing practice which reduces the isolation and seclusion of older people in part by bringing together people of all ages and encouraging engagement with all-ages in their communities.  


Our work with employers is all designed to ensure that people over 50 have more opportunity to find and stay in quality work.  As well as tackling the shocking, increasing number of older people now living in poverty, this ensures that there is an intergenerational workforce which evidence shows is more productive and more innovative than workplaces where over 50s are under-represented. 


Millions of people are living in homes which are non-decent and are threatening to health and safety. Our work to improve the quality of people’s homes means that, in addition to being healthier, people can live longer and more independently and maintain their relationships with family and friends.  


The Age Without Limits campaign to tackle ageism is aiming to make sure that older people are viewed realistically and are not subject to discrimination and exclusion from society but seen as valuable members of an intergenerational society. 


All our activities are evidence-based and evaluated.  As a member of the Government’s What Works Network, our work is based on the principle that good decision-making should be formed by the principle that good decision-making should be informed by the best available evidence,.   


Advice to other organisations or communities looking to implement intergenerational practices:  


Take care that you are not reinforcing stereotypical views of people of all ages.  We are all at risk of doing this.  


Take care too that you are not pitting one generation against another.  All activities that benefit older people, for example, are to the benefit of younger people and society as a whole.  For example, if we improve the quality and accessibility of homes billions would be saved by the NHS. It would be possible for carers to work with more confidence, homes would be more suitable for people with children and with disabilities.  


Similarly it would not only be younger people who would benefit from improved affordability of homes and childcare provision. Older people, whether they like it or not, are supplementing childcare or are seeing their families move far away due to rising housing costs.  


Encouraging older people to downsize to provide housing for younger people is another example.  Millions of older people would like to move but cannot due to the lack of suitable and local alternatives.  Even if they did move many homes would not be affordable for younger people.   


Not all older people are wealthy. Not all younger people are poor.  Let’s be sure to recognise the diversity and huge challenges facing people of all ages and avoid pitting one group against another. This is no-one’s interest. 

If you are interested in find out more about our Age Without Limits campaign or to tackle ageism, please visit our website at 


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