Multicultural Aging That Bridges Generational Divides

Intersectionality also showed up in different ways during the scores of workshops that took place during the American Society on Aging’s national conference which organizers estimated to have drawn about 2,300 people to San Diego March 11-14. One panel on multicultural aging, “Out of Many, One: Uniting the changing Faces of America,” grappled with sometimes contentious and increasingly emerging intergenerational alliances. Panel moderator Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, cited a Generations United study, released in December, in which scholars and other experts were encouraged to dream up ways that intergenerational collaboration can improve society as a whole, particularly in the areas of employment, civic engagement transportation and housing. Among other suggestions were funding of time banks that would, for instance, allow people to teach computer literacy in exchange for child-care; nationwide voter registration that would help younger people vote at higher rates, as do older people; workforce development that would allow older workers to stay on the job longer, while creating programs to help younger people develop and move up career ladders; encourage communities to adopt mobility coordinator programs, and house sharing to propitiate aging in place in exchange for lowering student loan debt or tuition. “The report helped me to see for the first time as a young persons how much we are interconnected,” said panelist Kyaien Conner, a University of South Florida assistant professor of mental health law and policy. “There are a lot of young people who have a fear that, if older adults live longer, they’ll work longer. But that’s not true…. When we understand, we will have a more successful society.