Bridging the Divide: A Youth and Elders Creative Collaboration
A primary intention of the project was to address issues related to wellbeing and quality of life in populations of older adults. Particularly in the U.S., older adults often grapple with issues related to social isolation and lack of meaningful exchanges with young people. This project aimed to address those issues through a creative arts collaboration between older adults and college-aged students.
The guiding vision of the project involved cultivating mutually beneficent relationships between older and younger adults as an avenue to foster intergenerational engagement. The intention was to create an experience whereby the older adults and young people exchanged their knowledge and life histories through dance making, storytelling, and performance. The project focused on building one-to-one relationships between youth and older adults, with an ASU Dance student partnering with a Friendship Village resident in movement, dance making, and somatic practices.
Findings and Impact
Over the course of this 7-week residency, the ASU students and residents formed close bonds and friendships, which was a primary goal of this project. Based on our observations and survey responses, a deep and meaningful connection was created between the students and Friendship Village residents. The students commented on how much they appreciated the mentorship, wisdom, and guidance the older adults offered, and in turn, the residents were grateful for the the creativity and energy the students brought into their lives. On the whole, the project was successful in fostering wellness, creativity, and social engagement in communities of older adults.