Intergenerational communities promote interaction and cooperation between individuals of different ages and focus on the needs of all residents, especially children and older adults. This place-based approach to community building focuses on a distinct geographic area, such as a neighborhood, town, or county. Intergenerational communities may include leadership opportunities for all ages, multi-generational programming, and housing, transportation, or workforce polices that address the needs of residents of all ages.
Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)
Increased social connectedness
Increased social cohesion
Increased civic participation
Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes
Improved health outcomes
Evidence of Effectiveness
Intergenerational communities are a suggested strategy to increase social connectedness1, 2, social cohesion3, and civic participation4, 5. Available evidence suggests that Communities for All Ages, a common approach to establishing intergenerational communities through diverse partnerships with local organizations, appears to have benefits for individuals in both urban and rural areas4, 6. Increasing opportunities for civic participation and community engagement may improve physical and emotional health among older adults3.
Separate funding streams supporting youth and older adult programming can be a challenge to planning and implementing intergenerational communities6.
Impact on Disparities
As of 2013, the National Communities for All Ages Network included 23 local initiatives in eight states spanning urban and rural areas4. Generations of Hope is another intergenerational community model, designed to support vulnerable families. Generations of Hope is in place in Portland, OR; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Rantoul, IL; and Easthampton, MA7.
Generations United is a nonprofit focused on supporting grandfamilies, building intergenerational communities, and expanding intergenerational programs and spaces8; the organization has a Grandfamilies COVID-19 Response Fund and other resources for grandfamilies and multigenerational families9.
CFAA-Resource guide - Brown C, Henkin N. Intergenerational community building: Resource guide. Philadelphia: Communities for All Ages (CFAA), The Intergenerational Center, Temple University; 2012.
Generations of Hope - Generations of Hope. Intergenerational communities for care and support networks.
GU - Generations United (GU). Because we are stronger together.
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1 APA-Ghazaleh 2011 - Ghazaleh A, Greenhouse E, Homsy G, Warner M. Multi-generational planning: using smart growth and universal design to link the needs to children and the aging population. Chicago: American Planning Association (APA); 2011.
2 CDC-Aging 2014 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You're as young as you feel. 2014.
3 Hinterlong 2006* - Hinterlong JE, Williamson A. The effects of civic engagement of current and future cohorts of older adults. Generations. 2006;30(4):10-17.
4 Brown 2014b* - Brown C, Henkin N. Building communities for all ages: Lessons learned from an intergenerational community-building initiative. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 2014;24(1):63-68.
5 AECF-Henkin 2005 - Henkin NZ, Holmes A, Walter B, Greenberg BR, Schwarz BR. Communities for all ages: Planning across generations. Baltimore: The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF); 2005.
6 CFAA-Henkin 2012 - Henkin N, Brown C, Leiderman S. Intergenerational community building: Lessons learned. Philadelphia: Communities for All Ages (CFAA), The Intergenerational Center, Temple University; 2012.
7 Generations of Hope - Generations of Hope. Intergenerational communities for care and support networks.
8 GU - Generations United (GU). Because we are stronger together.
9 GU-COVID-19 - Generations United (GU). COVID-19 responses and resources.
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