Report INTERFASOL Cost Action Meeting November 16th and 17th 2016
The meeting was held in Dublin in November 2016 in Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. The Cost Action meeting was held in Dublin since this location was volunteered by one of the Cost Action Members Dr Trudy Corrigan from Dublin, Ireland. Dublin City University (DCU) has developed an initiative within its university as an Age Friendly University and in this respect it seeks to engage older people from the wider community in intergenerational engagement with third level students. This initiative has a focus ón a broad range of issues including engagement in teaching and learning opportunities together. This is in addition to evaluating the benefits of social engagement and to support and develop the promotion of overall health and well being of younger and older people meeting and learning together ón a university campus. In this respect the university was an example of intergenerational solidarity within the context of third level learning and in this respect it was perceived to evaluate the benefits of intergenerational engagement outside of familal contexts.
The meeting took place over two days. This was lead by keynote speakers within the programme and external to the Cost Action Programme. For example Professor Mark Morgan from Dublin City University spoke of the importance of keeping the mind active as we age. Dr Brendan Walsh, Head of the School of Policy and Practice and also from DCU reflected ón the importance of joint partnership between European partners to define the role of intergenerational family solidarity and of the importance of this programme to engage partnership together in research, policy and practice across partner countries . Dr Walsh spoke of the importance of intergenerational solidarity for example in assisting older people across Europ to age well and in assisting in breaking down social isolation which is sometimes attributed to the onset of alzheimers or dementia as we age.
Participants from the Intergenerational Learning Programme DCU (DCUILP) presented ón the benefits of engagement between older and younger people outside of families and within a university context. For example, some of the older people commented ón the benefits of the importance of keeping their mind active and of the benefits of social engagement as we age. Some of the younger students spoke of how meeting with the older people on campus assists with their confidence building and wider world view perspective. For the university students from other countries, they discussed the benefits of language development and of understanding other cultures through both intercultural and intergenerational engagement together.
A cultural event was organised for the group to visit Glendalough in Co Wicklow which was of historical importance as one of the first monastic settlements in Ireland. A round table discussion also took place ón the second day of the programme which involved and included all the members from each of the workshops working together to focus on key themes of intergenerational family solidarity for the next Cost Action Meetings together. This also focused ón possibilities to collaborate ón future publications and research projects including stakeholders.
Professor Anne Marie Fontaine was thanked for her support and guidance in leading and developing the Cost Action Programme to date.It was agreed that all four working groups would work and develop further initiatives on evaluating policy and practices related to Intergenerational Family Solidarity for the next two meetings over the next twelve months and for the completion of the project in 2018.
Professor Mark Morgan speaks to ISCH COST Action IS1311 Intergenerational Family Solidarity across Europe (INTERFASOL) delegates, Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University, November 17, 2016.