Multigenerational males in blue walking in a row
(Credit: Malte Mueller / Getty Images)
Multigenerational males in blue walking in a row
(Credit: Malte Mueller / Getty Images)

Legislation targeting the parallel senior and child care workforce shortages was introduced Friday to address the epidemic of loneliness by fostering intergenerational connections.

The Care Across Generations Act, HR 6835, would provide resources to create and maintain childcare programs within assisted living communities. Research shows that intergenerational settings increase the health and well-being of both young and old participants, reduces social isolation and creates cost efficiencies, according to Argentum, but only a handful of communities offer this type of interaction. 

The nation’s 31,400 assisted living communities are home to nearly 2 million older adults and employ 1 million caregivers, many of whom report difficulties with finding reliable childcare, according to Argentum

“Assisted living, as a residential care setting where seniors live with dignity and independence while receiving help with daily activities, offers the ideal setting to embrace intergenerational care,” Argentum Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Maggie Elehwany said in a statement. “The Care Across Generation Act can help assisted living communities retain these vital caregivers by increasing childcare options at a time when high quality care can be hard to find.”

She added that assisted living communities enable residents to thrive by addressing social determinants of health, as well as reducing isolation and combating loneliness, which US Surgeon General Vivek Murthly called “America’s invisible epidemic.”

The legislation would provide grants for on-site childcare, multigenerational activities and dedicated intergenerational space, according to Matt Gatzke, CEO of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes. He said he believes the bill creates opportunities for older adults and children to “learn from each other, foster deep bonds, and enrich their lives.”

“As America’s population ages and the caregiving crisis is exacerbated for both seniors and children, the Care Across Generations Act offers an effective answer for many families,” Elehwany said. “Congress should embrace intergenerational care to improve the lives of millions of Americans today and into the future.”

The bill was introduced by US Reps. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Bryan Steil (R-WI) and Ann Kuster (D-NH).