Teenagers write books about older people in programme to combat loneliness

In a new intergenerational project, teenagers interview older people about
their lives and then write a book about them. Over 8 visits, young people hear
a first-hand account of how things used to be and older participants pass on
what they’ve learned in life.

In the process, each becomes a part of the other’s Life Story. These Life Stories are turned into a hardbound book with the aid of online software developed for the programme. The books are presented to the older participants at a public celebration attended by family and friends.

Sussex-based organization, Bridging Ages CIC first developed the programme in 2014 and then created a Toolkit that enables any school or community in the country to run Life Stories. It is available through their website. In a study by Age UK, two in five older people said the television is their main form of company. A recent survey by the BBC and Wellcome Trust found that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often than any
other age group.

Quotes from participants of programme

“This project made me realize that old people were young once too! I always thought it was a sad thing to get old, but actually I’ve found that older people do so many
things still and get lots out of life.”

“I never told anybody about my life because nobody ever asked! This project made me realize how lucky I’ve been to have had a wonderful life.”

Life Stories creates meaningful social contact between young and old to challenge ageist stereotypes and support people who may be lonely. The programme builds respect, trust and empathy between generations – and this can make our communities stronger.

Find out more at http://bridgingages.co.uk/

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