Intergenerational Activities Reduce Loneliness, Study Finds

Intergenerational Activities Reduce Loneliness, Study Finds

Most Americans believe activities that bring together children, youth, and older adults can reduce loneliness across all ages, a report from Generations United and the Eisner Foundation finds.

The report, All in Together: Creating Spaces Where Young and Old Thrive (32 pages, PDF), found that 92 percent of Americans want activities that bring all ages together, while 89 percent think that serving both children/youth and older adults at the same location is a good use of resources. However, only 26 percent of Americans are aware of intergenerational shared sites in their own communities. The report — which features examples of intergenerational programs across the country —  found that more than 80 percent of Americans say that if they or a loved one needed care services, they would prefer a setting where there are opportunities to interact with people of different age groups.

The report also found that 64 percent of respondents said they believe senior centers should create opportunities for children/youth and older adults to interact, while 62 percent said that schools and universities should assume that responsibility. The report highlights several programs involving university partnerships, including retirement community residents attending classes and graduate students living in retirement communities, and suggests a number of actionable ways to boost the number of high-quality intergenerational shared sites.

"Shared sites can transform how people interact and relate to each other within their communities," said Eisner Foundation CEO Trent Stamp. "Not only are the settings cost-efficient, but the older adults and children that are in those settings become happier and healthier as a result of being together."

"The demand for quality children and youth services compounded with the increasing need for creative older adult programs creates an environment ripe for innovative age-integrated care," said GU executive director Donna Butts. "For many communities facing limited resources to build and rehabilitate facilities, intergenerational shared sites that serve all ages save dollars while making sense."