In June 2003, the Florida Legislature designated the first week of December as Intergenerational week in Florida. Intergenerational programs and activities allow us the opportunity to bridge the experience and wisdom of elders with the unbridled curiosity and energy of our youth. The first full week of December has been set aside to promote Floridaâ€™s Intergenerational Week.
This year the Department of Elder Affairs, Office of Volunteer and Community Services, is working with other state agencies to highlight the importance of intergenerational activities and programs in the development of children and the quality of life of elders. Additionally, it is a time to acknowledge programs and services throughout our state that offer volunteer opportunities for interaction and exchange between people of different generations.Â Floridaâ€™s 60-plus population of more than 4.45 million represents 23.6 percent of the stateâ€™s population â€“ almost one in four Floridians.
There exists a natural gap in understanding between generations, which is why it is important to find connections between younger and older generations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, intergenerational activities and programs can prevent unnatural age segregation and can apply the strengths of one generation to meet the needs of another. This can be accomplished by simple activities that teach youth and elders how to relate to each other.Â It can be as simple as reading to one another, baking together, going fishing, playing card games or sharing music. This is why communities must make a conscience effort to create opportunities for elders, mature adults, young adults, teenagers and children to spend time together in order to build and strengthen relationships. Research shows that what matters most is the quality of the interaction between generations.
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