Mending Maya: An Analysis of Aging and Intergenerational Connection in Delhi, India

By: Alekandr Chandra '16

Advising Faculty: Audrey Zakriski

Past research suggests that intergenerational programming can have positive effects in bridging generational gaps. In an effort to explore intergenerational programming in one specific, cosmopolitan community in India, this research examined intergenerational connection and understanding and tested the effectiveness of implementing an art-based intergenerational intervention called Mending Maya. The intervention engaged seven young adults from a young adult’s empowerment and learning center and eight seniors at an old age home. This eight-week intergenerational intervention connected both young adults and seniors through three specific art forms: music, arts and crafts, and theater/meditation. Before and after the conclusion of this intergenerational intervention, intergenerational connection and understanding were explored in semi-structured interviews with senior program participants and young adults from the surrounding community (pre-program interviews), and with young adult intervention participants (pre and post-program interviews and structured assessments). Interviews were thematically coded. Results revealed that intergenerational arts programming in New Delhi, India can be an effective way to repair and restore webs of attachments between generations both inside and outside the actual parameters of the program. Aspects of the program that appeared essential to supporting these effects were utilization and maximization of existing community resources and a focus on cultural values that emphasize family and community. The final discussion synthesizes perceptions of aging in a changing world and program evaluations in order to paint a picture of aging as it is currently understood in Delhi, India. The discussion also examines the intergenerational intervention’s relevance to and sustainability within the Delhi community, and suggests ways the Delhi community can utilize intergenerational programming to enhance personal and community development through civic engagement.

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Related Fields: Psychology