Social isolation and loneliness affect people of all ages (Luhmann & Hawkley, 2016) and are associated with physical and mental health declines (Coyle & Dugan, 2012). Unfortunately, the COVID-19 social isolation and distancing orders have led to increased loneliness and mental health issues across all age groups (Teater et al., 2021). In response to these problems, we have seen an increase in loneliness and mental health intervention programs. What we do not yet fully know is how effective these programs have been in offsetting loneliness and mental health declines. The purpose of our study was to measure the effectiveness of an online intergenerational program organised by a local community seniors support group in Chilliwack, British Columbia. We examined the effectiveness of the program using a mixed method approach. Although we obtained a small response rate from the adolescents and younger adults (n=4), fourteen of the older adults responded to the survey. We found thirteen older adults’ loneliness decreased from taking part in the intergenerational program. The older adults also reported increased feelings of connection and found the program rewarding. Further, older adults reported a better understanding of younger generations e.g., “I learned this generation appears to be very engaged in the world and learning about better ways to live and work in it”. Overall, the data suggest online intergenerational programs can offset loneliness and increase intergenerational connection for some older adults. For those who continue to experience loneliness we recommend alternate or continued loneliness and mental health interventions.
|Publication status||Print publication - Jul 2022|
|Event||The British Society of Gerontology Conference - Online|
Duration: 7 Jul 2021 → 9 Jul 2021
|Conference||The British Society of Gerontology Conference|
|Period||7/07/21 → 9/07/21|