Press Release

New Toolkit Promotes the Development and Implementation of Intergenerational Programs in Senior Housing

This comprehensive resource provides step-by-step guidance for creating intergenerational programs that can be tailored to the needs of youth and older adult participants.

(Washington, DC) – Generations United and LeadingAge LTSSCenter @UMass Boston released Connecting Generations in Senior Housing: A Program Implementation Toolkit.

This comprehensive resource provides step-by-step guidance for creating intergenerational programs that can be tailored to the needs of youth and older adult participants. Building on findings of an earlier report, From Promise to Practice: Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing, and research snapshot, the toolkit contains practical information and templates to help housing providers and leaders at other organizations to plan, develop, implement, evaluate and sustain intergenerational programs. The work is funded by The Retirement Research Foundation.

“Generations United is pleased to partner with Leading Age to create this important resource,” said Nancy Henkin, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Generations United and co-developer of the toolkit. “We are excited to see so much interest in intergenerational programming among housing providers and hope this tool will help foster meaningful interaction between older residents and young people in their community.”

“Whether it’s an exercise class, reading, dancing, or a community history program, high-quality intergenerational programs that bring older adults and young people together in purposeful activities can have a powerful, positive impact on both seniors and youth, said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United.

Benefits of participation in well-designed intergenerational programs and fostering cross-age relationships, research shows, include a decrease in social isolation among older adults and increased feelings of belonging, self-esteem and well-being. For young people, intergenerational interaction can help to improve behavior and academic performance while increasing self-esteem and empathy.

“Senior housing can be an ideal setting to test and build these valuable programs,” said Dr. Taryn Patterson, policy research associate, LeadingAge LTSSCenter@UMass Boston, who partnered with Generations United on the project. “Our goal is to ensure that intergenerational programming becomes a part of every housing community in the country, and that housing professionals are able to build a network for sharing experiences as well as provide support and encouragement.”

Dr. Henkin and Dr. Patterson partnered with staff at six national affordable housing providers, who functioned as a learning collaborative. Over a 12-month period, each participant received technical assistance from the research team as well as from other participants, on planning, implementing and evaluating their intergenerational programs.

The next component of this project, now underway, involves wide distribution through webinars and in-person staff trainings at affordable housing organizations across the country.

Download the toolkit.

About Generations United: For three decades, Generations United’s mission has been to improve the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all. We have been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together.  We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.

About the LeadingAge LTSSCenter @UMassBoston: The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston conducts studies and evaluations that serve as a foundation for government and provider action to improve quality of care and quality of life for the most vulnerable older Americans. The LTSS Center, with offices in Washington, DC and Boston, MA, combines the resources of a major research university with the expertise and experience of applied researchers working with providers of long-term services and supports (LTSS). Established in 2017 by LeadingAge and the University of Massachusetts Boston, the LTSS Center builds on UMass Boston’s partnership with Community Catalyst, a national consumer health advocacy organization.