Connecting Generations for Good

Americans Want Spaces that Serve Young and Old Together, But Can’t Find Them, A New Survey Finds

Americans Want Spaces that Serve Young and Old Together, But Can’t Find Them, A New Survey Finds

June 5, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  June 5, 2018 — According to a new survey*, 92 percent of Americans believe activities bringing together children/youth and older adults can reduce loneliness across all ages. This survey and report from Generations United and The Eisner Foundation also found that 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 are aware of intergenerational shared sites in their own communities.

“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 Donna Butts, executive director at Generations Untied. “For many communities facing limited resources to build and rehabilitate facilities, intergenerational shared sites that serve all ages save dollars while making sense.”

The report – which features examples of intergenerational programs across the country that bring diverse age groups together – found that more than 4 in 5 Americans say that if they or a loved one needed care services, they would prefer a care setting where there are opportunities to interact with people of different age groups. Organizations like ONEgeneration, featured in the report, operate senior centers and child daycares under the same roof where different generations can interact and build relationships.

“Shared sites can transform how people interact and relate to each other within their communities,” said   Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation. “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.”

As for which community institutions should create opportunities for children/youth and older adults to interact, senior centers (64 percent) and schools/universities (62 percent) are the top choices, according to Americans. The report highlights several programs with university partnerships including retirement community residents attending classes at a university and graduate students living in retirement communities themselves.

In a national survey of intergenerational programs, Ohio State University researchers found that shared sites engaged the talents of all ages and improved health and positive intergenerational relationships.

“Our results illustrate that shared site intergenerational programs add value to communities across the country,” said Shannon Jarrott, professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University. “Responses point to next steps we can take to help these programs grow, connect, and sustain.”

The report also includes actionable ways to boost the number of high-quality intergenerational shared sites, including engagement with local leaders, policymakers, and accrediting bodies.

About Generations United: For nearly three decades, Generations United has 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. The National Center on Grandfamilies is a critical part of Generations United’s mission and strives to enact policies and promote programs that support relative caregivers and the children they raise. www.gu.org

About The Eisner Foundation:
The Eisner Foundation identifies, advocates for, and invests in high-quality and innovative programs that unite multiple generations for the enrichment of our communities. The Eisner Foundation was started in 1996 by Michael D. Eisner, then Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and his wife, Jane, to focus their family’s philanthropic activities. The Eisner Foundation gives an estimated $7 million per year to nonprofit organizations based in Los Angeles County. In 2015, The Eisner Foundation became the only U.S. funder investing exclusively in intergenerational solutions. www.eisnerfoundation.org

*About the Survey and Report:
The Generations United/Eisner Foundation survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll between February 27 – March 1, 2018 among 2,041 adults ages 18+. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in online surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Sheri Steinig at Generations United at ssteinig@gu.org.

 

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