Fighting Ageism through Intergenerational Activities, a Transformative Experience


  • A. Patricia Aguilera-Hermida Penn State University


Ageism, intergenerational relationships, transformative learning, older adults, college students.


Older adults are the fastest-growing population in the world.  There is already a higher demand for professionals to serve this population.  Therefore, it is important to prepare young adults to work with the aging cohort.  However, ageism impedes people to be interested and interact with older adults.  Ageism is more prevalent among younger generations, but intergenerational relationships may reduce ageist beliefs. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of college students.  It was found that intergenerational relationships are an opportunity for transformative experiences to occur.  Young adults questioned previous ageist beliefs and became more knowledgeable and appreciative of late adulthood.  Adult educators should promote intergenerational relationships so future professionals are better qualified to work with the aging population.

Author Biography

A. Patricia Aguilera-Hermida, Penn State University

Dr. Patty Aguilera is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Aguilera holds an M.S. in Psychology and completed a residency in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Aguilera worked as a clinical therapist and supervisor, and created a school for older adults in Mexico.

Her research has most recently focused on topics related to older adults such as education for senior citizens, ageism, community well-being, and strategies to promote cognitive health. One of her passions is neuroplasticity.


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