Intergenerational programs: A Win-Win Solution

Intergenerational programs recognize the value different generations bring to each other. When old and young people spend time together, connections are often formed. Seniors frequently have the benefit of time, flexible schedules and life experience that can be invaluable to young people.

Programs that utilize seniors as a resource for young people have been highly successful. A couple of years ago, a Forbes article discussed the benefits of one such example: Ebenzer Ridges Day Care is housed within an assisted living facility in Burnesville, Minnesota. There, elderly residents interact with children, filling the role of surrogate grandparents.

Another successful program, AARP Experience Corps, trains volunteers ages 50 and older to help students improve their reading skills. With over 2,000 trained volunteers, the program operates in 21 cities and has assisted more than 30,000 students annually.

Foster families have also been helped by seniors. Bridge Meadows is a housing community in Portland, Oregon, that welcomes both foster families and the elderly. There, foster children receive attention from seniors, many of whom serve as positive role models.

The success of intergenerational programs confirms that seniors can enrich the lives of younger people.