Melanie Arnold

Fostering Intergenerational Care Practice

Bringing children and the elderly together to improve their well-being


We have all heard stories of a loved one starting a new journey in their life in a nursing home, which is a challenging moment.
But how we care for the oldest and the youngest of our society is essential, as they depend on external help. In the past, families regulated this theme within. But due to social, demographic, and labor changes, different ways of living and working occurred (part-time working, divorces, away from family, more women at work, etc.).
Due to this, caring for the youngest and the elderly is shifting.
But dividing people by age leads to age segregation, contributing to social issues like generation hostility, loneliness, and ageism. When bringing children and the elderly together, many enriching exchanges can occur. The intergenerational practice aims for social innovation and offers mutual benefits like improved quality of life and well-being. Reciprocal teaching and learning can emerge, more differentiated worldviews can occur, and it can even positively influence dementia.



Many studies have been executed, and various benefits have been identified; however, the implementation is rare. Additionally, people tend to respond positively to the thematic; the issue is seldom addressed. Design Criteria aimed to give children and the elderly more agency. But the framework for them to meet has to be created by externals. Thus, the strategy motivated caregivers to implement intergenerational care practices and facilitate interaction. The showcased Butterfly Interaction (painting a caterpillar and a butterfly and telling its story), served as a metaphor that aging is a beautiful process. Further, it made caregivers from both institutions aware of their competency and displayed an example of how interactions could be done together. Additionally, the Intergenerational Wheel was developed to help as an inspiration for topic ideas. Further, a tool for a weekly schedule platform is proposed. Thus, caregivers from daycare and nursing homes are informed and have access to the plan each other. Ultimately, a label is suggested so that the daycare and nursing homes using this practice will be recognized with the quality seal.



The showcased Butterfly Interaction captured the magic around intergenerational practice and created the framework for the elderly and children to meet. Additionally, it was an occasion to encourage the caregivers, who also felt the potential of the collaboration and are now willing to implement intergenerational practices in their program structure. Hence, it can be concluded that when caregivers experience an intergenerational approach in person, their interest increases, and they become more aware of their possibilities.

Intervention (PDF)

Problem Area (PDF)

System Map (PDF)

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