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Diving “All In Together”: Are We Shifting Back Toward Intergenerational Lives?

Stria Staff June 6, 2018
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Over the past 100 years, American lives have been changing dramatically. We’ve separated older people from our schools, our work and the places where we live. This “radical reorganization” of institutions has fostered loneliness, isolation and conflict between generations.

“Ageism is born in the soil of this kind of segregation,” said Marc Freedman, CEO & President of Encore.org, at the release of a new report on intergenerational programs this week in Washington, DC.

The report “All In Together: Creating Places Where Young and Old Thrive” focuses on intergenerational shared site programs across the country. “Shared sites” are programs that serve unrelated younger people and older adults at the same location. The study was led by Generations United and funded by The Eisner Foundation to document the status of shared sites—and to capture public knowledge and perspectives about the programs.

If you’re like 74% of the Americans polled in the research, you are not aware of places in your community that care for children and older adults together. The report notes that “finding these types of care settings and opportunities for intergeneration interaction may not be easy.”

Despite this lack of awareness, the study found significant support for these programs:

  • 4 in 5 said that if they needed care services, they would prefer a care setting with opportunities for intergenerational contact.
  • 89% believe serving both children and older adults in the same location is a good use of resources.
  • 74% agree that programs and facilities that separately serve different age groups prevent children/youth and older adults from benefiting from each other’s skills and talents.

So what does this mean for those of us who work in longevity market? Should we be looking more closely at how our services and products foster connections between generations?

If the advocates of intergenerational programs are right, perhaps we should. Not only is the research starting to show that intergenerational programs can improve lives and health outcomes—but also surveys are telling us it’s what more and more people (and customers) want.

“This is a movement to return to our natural course,” says Freedman.

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