Generation Exchange worked with 15 young people aged between 11-18 and 10 older people based at the Extra Care Housing Scheme Orchid House in Thirsk. The project brought the two generations together to increase awareness and understanding of the issues faced by each group leading to better relationships between the age groups, improving emotional resilience increasing confidence, self management, communication and decisions making with both groups.
A series of digital workshops were hosted both at Rural Arts and at Orchid House which focused on producing artworks which demonstrated a collaborative approach. Digital based skills were shared and discussion points were used to prompt a conversation at both venues. Both groups said they discovered more about the other generations life and the young people especially saw the benefits of completing Dementia Friends training before visiting the Extra Care Facility.
Sophie, (14) who recorded her experience within her Silver Arts Award porfolio explained
"During the Intergeneration Project, I learnt about dementia for the first time and practised using the iPads to make artworks about my life. I then went to teach the older folk how to use them and make artworks about their life too. We used a series of Apps which included Foldify, Shapego, Vanilla Pen, Google Earth and Artpen. We had to ask them a series of questions which helped us put this into the apps to make the artwork which included "How does it feel to be your age", "Where did you live before here", "Where did you go to school", "Where is somewhere you felt is significant in your life", "What message do you want to tell the world". However we asked a lot more questions that these!
I found that some of the older folk did not really know what was going on at first when we arrived, one also fell asleep and others seemed quite confused to what we wanted to show them. However others were so eager to have a chat with us and began to relax after a while. Overall I think that this project has developed my communication and adapability skills. I had to imagine what the world looked like to the older people and recognise when they had understood me and when they hadn't. More than anything, I had to be patient and change my approach in this new situation."