The Reading Rooms Older People’s Programme have been hosting an intergenerational programme with members from Foyleville Day Care and children from the Model Primary School on the theme of Halloween past and present. The children wrote stories with a spooky theme as preparation to participating on the project. We began with sessions in Foyleville where our wonderful volunteers Frank Rafferty and Sarah Nawn led the group reading extracts from Roald Dahl’s BFG.
The project culminated in a shared event at the Verbal as part of our SBOOKY Festival outreach. The session began with a range of Halloween poems and the children shared some of their spooky stories. The members from Foyleville shared some of their own ideas about whether ghosts actually do exist and some funny stories about how sometimes events can be mistaken as being scary when actually the reality is very easily explained. The children then treated everyone to a hearty rendition of the song “The Witches of Halloween”.
Often older people are presented as being a drain on society rather than an asset; but if we can improve the standing of older adults in society, and nurture what they can bring through intergenerational connections, then we can achieve a better community with a better quality of life for all ages. Therefore, opportunities for intergenerational activities are deemed to very important.
“Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of a nation.” Margaret Mead (American Cultural Anthropologist)
Through contact with older people e.g. grandparents, children have a better sense of who they are and where they’ve come from; their roots and history as well as added perspectives on social history and gain a sense of continuity and perspective. Older people benefit from contact with children as well. Older adults who experience opportunities for intergenerational connection report less depression, better physical health, and higher degrees of life satisfaction. They tend to be happier with their present life and more hopeful for the future.