Guest Blog: Lively builds meaningful intergenerational connections


October 1 is International Day of Older Persons. This year’s theme is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large. It focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with rights, needs and preferences. So the Go Digi team invited Lively to share more about their ‘Tech, Tea and Tales’ program.

At the beggining of 2017, 81-year-old Jane had never been online. Riley, 22, was at a dead end – struggling to find a job, and looking for her first break into full-time employment.

That was until they met in February as participants in ‘Tech, Tea and Tales’ – an intergenerational program run by two Melbourne-based social enterprises, Lively and Humankind Enterprises.

The program, which had been introduced to Jane’s Jewish Care nursing home at the beginning of the year, employs young jobseekers to spend one-on-one time with older people – helping them learn how to use technology to stay connected, and record their life stories & experiences on video.

The program aims to build meaningful connections between generations, and to equip older people with the digital skills to help them stay in touch with family & friends, and their community and interests.

For Jane, the program presented an opportunity to learn about a world of technology that she felt left out of. After her first session with Riley, she shared her excitement, “It’s opened up new horizons for me. It’s letting me go forward – like life hasn’t finished for me!”

For Riley, the opportunity to be employed as a technology helper was the break she needed – paid employment and a chance to develop the skills that finally helped her land a full-time job after the program’s conclusion.

As Lively’s Founder, Anna Donaldson, explains, Lively’s intergenerational technology help program is ultimately about making sure that young and older people feel valued and included in our community.

“So many older people in our community experience isolation, loneliness and feelings of disconnection from the broader community. Many also feel left behind and shut out of using new technology, which can be such a powerful tool for older people to communicate with friends and family, pursue their interests, access services and engage with the community. We want to empower older people with digital skills so that they can continue to participate in our community, rather than feeling excluded.”

“At the same time, we want to give opportunities to young people, remind them how much they have to offer, and encourage them to connect with and better value the older people around them.”

Lively is a Go Digi Network Partner and runs its technology help programs around metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the Golden Plains Shire region.

Watch the Tech, Tea and Tales Program in action

Find out more about Lively