People Walking on Sidewalk Near Buildings in Conwy, Wales UK. Photo: Pexels.
Erin (27) and Glenn (77) met and formed a friendship over their shared love of music. Erin shares how their friendship has blossomed over the years:
“Glenn and I met when I was working in a bike shop that was adjacent to his apartment in Valencia. We then spoke about music and his love for 60s rock and roll over the counter in the bike shop.
Glenn told me that Bob Dylan was coming to town to play live in Valencia famous bullring in the centre of town and asked if I’d like to go with him. Spontaneity is key to the interesting and peculiar events in our life so “why not!”, I said. I was 23 when we met and Glenn was 73.
I’ve learnt a lot of things through chatting to Glenn. How life is really what you make of it and you’re never too old for an adventure.”
Similarly, Steph (69) met Michelle (44) 7 years ago and shares how their friendship has benefitted them both:
“We first met at run together running group in Heaton Park about 7yrs ago. We enjoy running together with lots of chatting. We meet every week for our chatty run. Sometimes we go out socially with other friends for food and drinks.
I have learnt from our intergenerational friendship the age doesn’t matter; it isn’t a barrier to friendship. Our friendship benefits us both, as we have different life skills, outlooks and life experiences. We can share with each other. Most of all my friend makes me feel her equal and keeps me young.”
Erin & Glenn - Intergenerational Friendship. Photo: Lottie.
More and more people like those four are becoming aware of the benefits of socializing with different generations. From breaking down stereotypes to improving communities, there’s a wealth of health and wellbeing benefits for every age.
Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Intergenerational Friendships
Ageing is a natural part of life. However, sometimes, as we age the way traditional towns and cities are designed can leave older generations feeling excluded from society. From easy access to buildings, affordable transport, and socializing opportunities, all generations can benefit from a healthy, happy, and age inclusive community.
In fact, over the last 12 months, online searches for ‘intergenerational relationships’ have seen a 33% surge. New research from Lottie – a later living marketplace – analyzed the generational split across UK towns and cities to reveal the top intergenerational places across the country that are bringing generations together.
Will Donnelly, Care expert and Co-Founder at Lottie, explained:
“Loneliness is on rise across all generations, with research revealing 45% of adults in the UK have experienced feelings of loneliness.
Living alone and poor social connections increase your risk of experiencing loneliness. Unfortunately, many older people are at risk of feeling isolated - especially as we approach the winter months.
Often, some older adults may not have any social interaction with others for up to six days a week. Intergenerational friendships offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits for both older and younger generations.
From learning life lessons from those older than you, to regular socialisation and building connections with others, intergenerational friendships combat feelings of loneliness and bring communities together.”
Top Intergenerational Places to Live in the UK
Conwy took the crown in 1st place as the most intergenerational place in the UK, Scarbrough came in a close 2nd, and Chichester come in 3rd place.
“Basing our insights on demographic results of the 2021 census, we’ve revealed the best places to live that bring a variety of generations together – all of which can boost your wellbeing and socialization.
With an ageing population, many people across the country are living in intergenerational communities - and we’re even seeing up to 3 or 4 different generations in one family.
There’s lots of benefits from intergenerational friendships, including learning new skills, reducing feelings of loneliness, encouraging a sense of belonging, and strong community ties.”
“Our research has found several seaside towns or locations close to the coast appear in our top 7 multigenerational locations in the UK, including Conwy - which has been crowned the most intergenerational place in the UK.
Similarly, previous research has found locations such as Conwy and Fareham amongst the happiest places to live in the UK, with strong life satisfaction and overall happiness levels.
We’ve also found Chichester offers the best investment prospects for all generations, whilst Scarborough is the most affordable intergenerational location in the UK.
Our data has also revealed Stratford-upon-Avon is an up-and-coming location, increasing in popularity with both families and retirees in recent years.”
7 Best Intergenerational Cities: UK Study Findings
Conwy castle, unesco world heritage in Wales, United Kingdom.
Lottie’s research reveals Conwy is the most intergenerational place to live in the UK, with an overall 50% even split of younger and older generations living in the area.
Not only does Conwy offer beautiful coastlines, outdoor adventures, and historic culture, it is home to a world heritage site – Conwy Castle.
Conwy has also been ranked one of the happiest places to live in the UK, with locals in the area reporting high life satisfaction and happiness scores. It offers a range of activities for all generations to enjoy, from coastal walks, history and watersports - there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
It’s no surprise Conwy has been revealed as the most intergenerational location in the UK. It scores well in many wellbeing factors crucial at all ages in life. From a low crime rate (41% below the national average), strong transport links to major UK cities (under 2 hours on the train from Manchester), and an affordable cost of living, there are lots of perks of living in Conwy for every generation.
Famous for its sandy beaches, breathtaking coastline and family attractions, Scarborough, is the second intergenerational place to live in the UK - with an almost even split of those aged 0-90 living in the area.
Based on the researchers’ analysis, Scarborough offers the benefits of a multigenerational town, with the most affordable cost of living in the top 7 - with the average house prices at £209,167.
As well as providing a range of age friendly activities, the town has a strong sense of community with a number of social clubs and community projects.
More people living in the Scarborough area are Googling ‘scarborough clubs’ than ever before. They’re in huge demand, with searches rising by 22% over the last 12 months.
The third intergenerational location in the UK is Chichester, a cathedral city in West Sussex.
Chichester boasts vibrant old streets, filled with quaint cafes and tearooms, a theatre showing productions often seen in the West End and a picturesque harbour.
With plenty of outdoor activities to try, Chichester makes the perfect location for outdoor lovers and thrill seekers of any age.
Chichester scores well in investment prospects, showing it’s the ideal place for families wanting to settle their roots and retirees looking to grow their retirement portfolios alike.
Stratford-upon-Avon is in fourth place for the most intergenerational place to live in the UK. Famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town rooted in culture and history.
The research has revealed Stratford-upon-Avon is an up-and-coming location for all generations, including families and retirees, even as more people become aware of the benefits of multigenerational living.
Over the last 12 months searches for homes in Stratford-Upon-Avon reached an all time high, with Google searches for ‘buy a house in Stratford-upon-Avon’ increasing by 150% and ‘retirement homes Stratford-upon-Avon’ increasing by 120%.
Stratford-upon-Avon has also been voted one of the most accessible towns in the UK. With easy access to public spaces and points of interest, exploring the town has been made easier for everyone.
In fifth place for the most intergenerational location in the UK is Maldon, Essex.
Maldon is filled with lots of heritage that stretches back thousands of years, here you can enjoy vintage sailing boats, salt marshes, and enjoy a range of leisure activities.
Being just under an hour away from London by car, it makes the perfect spot for anyone wanting to enjoy the bustle of the UK’s capital during the day and escape to a relaxing sanctuary in the evening.
With a 50% surge in online searches for ‘Maldon clubs’ - residents of Maldon are well aware of the benefits of building an age friendly, connected, and multigenerational community.
Offering over 100 community clubs, it's no surprise that Maldon has been placed in the top 7 intergenerational places in the UK.
Known for its historical past, Lewes is a cultural town located less than 6 miles away from the coastline of Brighton and is the sixth intergenerational place to live in the UK.
Lewes has the perfect mix of a quaint market town with great transport links to bustling cities and thrill seeking activities, making it a great location for everyone of all ages to enjoy.
Lottie’s new data has revealed that Lewes is at the forefront of creating age friendly communities in the UK. Lewes is home to a number of intergenerational community clubs, including opera singing and dementia alliance groups.
Many local schools celebrate National Intergenerational Week (which takes place in March), with intergenerational connections deeply rooted in the town. It's no surprise Lewes has been revealed as one of the most intergenerational places to live in the UK.
Finally, Fareham is the seventh intergenerational place to live in the UK. Home to a scenic harbour, iconic coastlines and in close proximity to the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton – there’s plenty going on in Fareham.
Living in Fareham has surged in popularity over the last year for both younger and older generations - with Google searches for ‘retirement flats fareham’ increasing by 200% and ‘new homes fareham’ increasing by 100%.
The research has found Fareham scores well in wellbeing factors crucial at all stages in life. With 95% of schools in Fareham rated outstanding or good, over 40 social clubs, and organised elderly transport schemes and housing, Fareham offers one of the most age friendly communities in the UK.
Tips to Make Your Community Age Friendly and Promote Intergenerational Friendships
“Age friendly communities are places where age is not a barrier to living well - they often benefit from intergenerational connections, relationships and socialising,” shares Donnelly.
“With an ageing population many of us are living longer and this creates the opportunity to create vibrant communities, where we can all learn from each other, reduce the risk of isolation across all generations, and improve the quality of life for all.”
From the government, councils, healthcare support to individuals in a community, there are steps we can all take to create an age friendly community, including:
1. Respect for seniors
Although respect for older generations is shown in most communities, there are still some negative preconceptions when it comes to ageing - like the activities elderly people enjoy to the time they like to spend socialising.
Each of us are unique and have our own interests and hobbies - and this doesn’t change as we age. From intergenerational interactions, younger generations can learn to remove any misconceptions associated with ageing - whilst encouraging elders to continue their interest and hobbies sharing their knowledge and wisdom with younger generations.
2. Social interaction and participation
The way many societies are built can make it hard to stay connected to others as you age, and this can increase your risk of loneliness, especially during the winter months.
Intergenerational socialisation can boost older generations' self- esteem and keep them engaged with the community, helping both older and younger generations to feel valued in their community.
From age friendly activities, walking clubs and coffee mornings - there are lots of ways to bring everyone of all ages together.
3. Accessible transport
Accessible and affordable public transport is key to ensuring all residents of a community are able to actively and remain engaged with their community. With a limited budget or reduced mobility as we age, it’s no surprise that a lack of accessible transport can be an issue for older generations.
Whilst transportation may seem like an issue for the local council to tackle, as a member of your community you can make small steps to help those older than you to access transport safely. From giving up your seat on the bus or train for someone who may need it more, or offering support to carry heavy shopping bags - there are small acts of kindness that can make someone’s day much easier.
4. Health services
With an ageing population, it’s important for healthcare services to consider how they can best support the health of older generations and the ease of access to their services.
The elderly care sector provides much needed help and support for families and their loved ones - from residential and nursing care to respite support there’s lots of support available.
However, with the cost of living and energy crisis, the care sector is in need of urgent support and funding from the government to continue supporting those most vulnerable in society.
5. Communication and technology support
Staying connected to news, events, and activities is a key part of staying healthy as we age.
Technology can be tapped into to help older generations to stay connected, from using a smartphone to stay in touch or video call a loved one to staying on top of news or activities in your local area.
You can support an elderly loved one to stay connected by helping them to use and understand modern technology.
Whilst businesses can consider how they can best distribute their information so it is easily accessible to customers of all ages.
6. Search for opportunities to support different generations in your local area
There’s lots of ways you can promote intergenerational connections in your community. From regularly visiting your local care home or retirement village, you can form friendships with residents in those communities.
Similarly, researching any volunteering opportunities such as fundraising for a charity, or supporting any locally run activities and clubs you’ll be able to meet a range of people of different ages and build strong community ties.
You could even look into starting your own community project or group - this could be as small or as big as you like. From gathering your friends and loved ones across different generations to starting a community project, you can easily start your own age inclusion social club.