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Intergenerational exchange and the possibilities of role substitution for older people

Intergenerational exchange and the possibilities of role substitution for older people Role loss or substitution are common experiences of older adults, and a role typically held by older people – great grandparent or grandparent – is now under threat. Set within the context of a retirement village where an Intergenerational Programme (IGP) was taking place, the purpose of this paper is to understand older people’s perspectives on preschool-aged children, and the roles they adopt with them.Design/methodology/approachThe authors conducted semi-structured interviews and analysed the data using narrative analysis (n=19).FindingsFour narratives were identified, revealing that older adults adopt the roles of teacher and compromiser when interacting with children, believe they are “plugging a gap” in society through their involvement with younger generations and are reminded of life when with them.Research limitations/implicationsThe study does not feature the voice of younger children within intergenerational contact; information which would have provided a different perspective on the roles identified.Social implicationsThe bulk of global IGP practice is targeted at bringing together older and younger people who are not as young as preschool age, but this may be an opportunity missed. Retirement village operators may also want to consider intergenerational activity with preschool-aged children as a way for them to provide opportunities for role substitution within this environment.Originality/valueThe findings identify a positive perception older people have about young children in today’s society, expanding on very limited literature. How older adults perceive their role with young children is also identified within this research, highlighting how interacting with non-related preschoolers can provide some older people with a substitute role in later years. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality in Ageing and Older Adults Emerald Publishing

Intergenerational exchange and the possibilities of role substitution for older people

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1471-7794
DOI
10.1108/qaoa-03-2019-0013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Role loss or substitution are common experiences of older adults, and a role typically held by older people – great grandparent or grandparent – is now under threat. Set within the context of a retirement village where an Intergenerational Programme (IGP) was taking place, the purpose of this paper is to understand older people’s perspectives on preschool-aged children, and the roles they adopt with them.Design/methodology/approachThe authors conducted semi-structured interviews and analysed the data using narrative analysis (n=19).FindingsFour narratives were identified, revealing that older adults adopt the roles of teacher and compromiser when interacting with children, believe they are “plugging a gap” in society through their involvement with younger generations and are reminded of life when with them.Research limitations/implicationsThe study does not feature the voice of younger children within intergenerational contact; information which would have provided a different perspective on the roles identified.Social implicationsThe bulk of global IGP practice is targeted at bringing together older and younger people who are not as young as preschool age, but this may be an opportunity missed. Retirement village operators may also want to consider intergenerational activity with preschool-aged children as a way for them to provide opportunities for role substitution within this environment.Originality/valueThe findings identify a positive perception older people have about young children in today’s society, expanding on very limited literature. How older adults perceive their role with young children is also identified within this research, highlighting how interacting with non-related preschoolers can provide some older people with a substitute role in later years.

Journal

Quality in Ageing and Older AdultsEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 21, 2019

Keywords: Narrative; Older people; Generativity; Role theory; Grandparenting

References