Perfect Pair aims to foster one-on-one, intergenerational connections between seniors and college students. We strive to reinforce a sense of community and purpose for our pairs: a goal that underlies our efforts to improve senior health and wellbeing. We achieve this by ensuring that our pair connections are personalized: based on shared background and mutual interests. Simultaneously, we encourage seniors to re-engage with their passions by offering individualized and accessible programming. We hope for seniors and students to feel that their quality of life has been meaningfully enhanced by their experience in our program.
Encourage consistent communication and authentic companionship between seniors and college students
Maintain the ability for pairs to personalize their meetings and tailor the program to best fit their needs, goals, and interests
Ensure an inclusive and supportive environment, where all participants feel secure and comfortable
Inspire storytelling and sharing of unique perspectives across generations
Empower seniors to reconnect with the things that they love
Increase awareness of the senior experience in long-term care communities and empower college students to continue to engage in efforts that improve senior care
Combat stereotypes related to aging and promote anti-ageist culture
Welcome and actualize new ideas and initiatives that allow us to best support our seniors, volunteers, and board members
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Perfect Pair’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is unwavering across all of our university chapters. At the core of our mission, we aim to cultivate a strengthened sense of community and togetherness. We recognize the invaluable insights and achievements that are derived from collaboration amongst individuals with varied perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. We strive to foster a sense of belonging and purpose for our members, empowering them to express themselves, their ideas, and their interests authentically. This holds true in our methods for mobilizing and inspiring diverse leadership teams nationwide. We value our commitment to ensuring that our program is accessible and accommodating to all who wish to be involved.
GUIDING RESEARCH: WHY WE RUN
In an aging society, loneliness and social isolation are among some of the greatest public health concerns. While certainly these experiences are relevant across the lifespan, research has demonstrated that 50% of individuals aged over 60 are at risk of social isolation and 1/3 will experience some degree of loneliness later in life (1). In addition, there exists a growing social gap between generations;
of individuals aged over 60 are at risk of social isolation
of individuals reported an increase in their relationships (5)
After participation in a program that promotes intergenerational connections
of individuals reported an increase in their mood (5)
of individuals reported an increase in their mental health (5)
Among the ways to combat and alleviate experiences of loneliness and social isolation, programs that promote intergenerational connection have shown to be beneficial to older adults, with positive increases in older adults' physical health, psychosocial health (e.g. reduced depression), cognitive function, social relationships, and well-being/quality of life (2). Likewise, research has also demonstrated positive benefits in students, including positive attitudes, behaviors, confidence, and competence in different measures (3). As such, extensive literature has shown that both adolescents and older adults alike have remarkable socio-emotional benefits from intergenerational connections (4). These impacts have also been replicated in meetings that occur both face-to-face (5) and virtually (6).
These findings ground our mission to foster one-on-one, intergenerational connections between seniors and college students and motivate us to reinforce a sense of community and purpose for our pairs. We hope to maximize these benefits in our program to ultimately enhance the quality of life for both students and seniors alike.
(1) Fakoya OA, McCorry NK, Donnelly M. Loneliness and social isolation interventions for older adults: a scoping review of reviews. BMC Public Health. 2020 Feb 14;20(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-8251-6. PMID: 32054474; PMCID: PMC7020371.
(2) Zhong S, Lee C, Foster MJ, Bian J. Intergenerational communities: A systematic literature review of intergenerational interactions and older adults' health-related outcomes. Soc Sci Med. 2020 Nov;264:113374. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113374. Epub 2020 Sep 17. PMID: 33017736.
(3) Giraudeau C, Bailly N. Intergenerational programs: What can school-age children and older people expect from them? A systematic review. Eur J Ageing. 2019 Jan 28;16(3):363-376. doi: 10.1007/s10433-018-00497-4. PMID: 31543729; PMCID: PMC6728408.
(4) Laging B, Slocombe G, Liu P, Radford K, Gorelik A. The delivery of intergenerational programmes in the nursing home setting and impact on adolescents and older adults: A mixed studies systematic review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2022 Sep;133:104281. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104281. Epub 2022 May 20. PMID: 35749861.
(5) Canedo-García A, García-Sánchez JN, Díaz-Prieto C, Pacheco-Sanz DI. Evaluation of the Benefits, Satisfaction, and Limitations of Intergenerational Face-to-Face Activities: A General Population Survey in Spain. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 14;18(18):9683. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18189683. PMID: 34574603; PMCID: PMC8468254.
(6) Canedo-García A, García-Sánchez JN, Pacheco-Sanz DI. Benefits, Satisfaction and Limitations Derived from the Performance of Intergenerational Virtual Activities: Data from a General Population Spanish Survey. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 30;19(1):401. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19010401. PMID: 35010661; PMCID: PMC8744636.