News & Events

The joys of intergenerational connection

July 19, 2021

Liscombe House resident Joan Hammond loves the days when her great grandson Hudson comes to visit her.

She enjoys the chats they have, the walks around Liscombe House, and the chance to be with someone younger. Hudson loves being wheeled about in Joan’s walker and spending time with his great grandmother.

The joys of older and younger people getting together are plain to see not only at Liscombe House but also in all the villages. Last year, many residents missed the face to face contact with their grandchildren, relying on facetime and skype to keep in touch.

Planning for two new intergenerational programs began before Lockdown 5. . Yarrambat Primary School is coming into Liscombe House in August to craft mosaics with residents and to try out the Children’s Garden. Fitzroy High School VCAL students have started interviewing Rushall Park residents to capture their ‘life stories.’ It is the fourth year that the program has run, with a gap last year because of COVID-19.  We look forward to these programs resuming once current restrictions are eased.

The benefits of intergenerational connections are well researched.   Forty years ago, eminent Cornell professor and child psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner famously concluded, “Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.”

In 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development began tracking more than 700 men and the research continues to this day. Of the study’s findings, one towers above all others: Relationships are the critical ingredient in well-being, particularly as we age.

Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant who led the study for more than three decades, wrote that ‘In all three Study cohorts, masters of Generativity tripled the chances that the decade of the 70s would be for these men and women a time of joy and not of despair.”

Generativity, for him meant investing in, caring for, and developing the next generation; older adults who did so were three times as likely to be happy as those who did not.

Today, an accumulating body of research on purpose, generativity, relationships, and face-to-face contact suggests that engagement with others that flows down the generational chain may well make you healthier, happier, and possibly longer-lived.

Our observations would agree with the research findings.


Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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