A new report from Generations United and The Eisner Foundation details for assisted living communities and others the four “pivotal” phases of developing and operating shared sites for intergenerational interaction.
“We know that people like the idea of shared sites, but implementation is a challenge. We hope that this new report provides the tools and inspiration to make more shared sites a reality,” Eisner Foundation CEO Trent Stamp said. “Every community should have access to spaces where different generations can come together and benefit from what each has to offer.”
According to research from the organizations, youth programs currently are co-located with programs serving older adults, among them assisted living (41%) and independent older adult housing (36%).
The new report, “The Best of Both Worlds: A Closer Look at Creating Spaces that Connect Young and Old,” is a follow-up to a 2018 report, “All in Together: Creating Places Where Young and Old Thrive.” For the new report, the organizations conducted interviews from February to April with staff and board members at existing and planned intergenerational shared sites as well as real estate developers and national policy and program experts.
Those interviews, they said, revealed the four phases of development and operation, plus challenges associated with them:
1. Creating the vision. Research successful models, talk with those involved and build partnerships to help with concept development and implementation.
2. Making it work. Learn how to write grants and conduct fundraising campaigns; think about the design of the physical space; become knowledgeable about relevant licensing requirements, regulations and codes; and hire and train staff who are committed to the plan.
3. Building intergenerational relationships. Cross-train staff members to work with both children and older adults, secure funds for an intergenerational coordinator, measure the impact of the program (Generations United is developing a toolkit), and market the program to the larger community.
4. Maintaining momentum. Integrate through staffing, building / community design and other ways so serving multiple generations becomes second nature for the organization, and create a succession plan for when program champions and critical staff members depart.
See the report for additional information, including examples from operators.