Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon,”
Said the old man, “I do too!”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the little boy,
“It seems grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of the wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the old man.

— Shel Silverstein

Meaningful contact between older adults and young people in the United States has become increasingly uncommon. Only in rare instances do grandparents live with their children and grandchildren under the same roof — or even in the same town.

Because there is so little interaction between the generations, young people often don’t understand the needs and abilities of older adults, and older adults often forget the positive emotional benefits of being around young children.

Intergenerational programs allow older people to do valuable work in human service fields that face huge labor shortages. And they give old and young alike the chance to experience meaningful, caring relationships.

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Bridging the Gap – Inter-generational Relationships
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