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The Age-Line Exercise

Objectives:

  • to elicit participants’ perceptions about aging.
  • to stimulate dialogue about age-related issues.

Steps:

  1. Have everybody (participants, staff, volunteers, etc.) place themselves in a line from the youngest to the oldest member of the group. (This may also be done in a circle.) To add an element of difficulty, have people find their places on line without saying a word to each other.
  2. Taking turns, have each person state their age and how they feel about their age.
  3. Now have everybody find a new place on the line, but this time, it is according to their desired age.
  4. Taking turns, have each person state their desired age and why they chose to be that age. The facilitator can ask questions such as: What does it mean to be that age? What do you think you could do at that age that you can’t do now.
  5. Closing comments from facilitator: One theme which usually comes out is how each age has its advantages and disadvantages. (In other words, no one age group is inherently better or worse than other age groups.) Another powerful theme is how there are similarities across age groups – such as how we all enjoy socializing with other people.

* Derived from activities compiled by the Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University (1995).