The Importance of Intergenerational Connection “The term intergenerational community refers to a place that (1) provides adequately for the safety, health, education and basic necessities of life for people of all ages; (2) promotes programs, policies, and practices that increase cooperation, interaction, and exchange between people of different generations; and (3) enables all ages to share their talents and resources, and support each other in relationships that benefit both individuals and their community.
An intergenerational community is not just one where multiple generations reside. It is one where individuals of all ages are an integral and valued part of the setting. This perspective is reflected in the families, structures, facilities and services that children and older adults encounter in the community, as well as in day-to-day interactions and relationships. Partnerships are essential to intergenerational communities and can be between local government, senior citizen homes, schools, businesses, local cultural and community organizations and services, families, older adults and children. An intergenerational community builds on the positive resources that each generation has to offer each other and those around them. It advances policies and practices that both acknowledge and promote intergenerational interdependence.” - From Generations United’s America’s Best Intergenerational Communities: Building Livable Communities for Children, Youth, Families, and Older Adults
Interdependence: People feel a sense of shared fate with one another. The age-old social compact is strong as generations rely on each other for care, support, and nurturing. Elders are viewed as resources to families and communities. Young people feel valued as resources for elders and gain a sense of self-efficacy.
Reciprocity: People of all ages have opportunities to give and receive support; to teach and learn. Age groups rely on each other for support.
Individual worth: Each individual, regardless of age, race/ethnicity, gender, or other differences, deserves respect and care, is entitled to equal access to the community’s resources, and has opportunities to contribute to the community.
Diversity/Inclusion: Efforts are made to foster understanding across diverse groups, which promotes recognition of shared priorities and untapped resources. Policies and programs are designed for all members of the community, with the understanding that improvements to overall community quality of life will benefit most members of the community.
Equity: Fairness is reflected in all policies and services. Advocates for the young and the old are not pitted against each other for limited resources, but work together as allies toward the development of mutually beneficial policies and service.
Social connectedness: Social relationships build and deepen the social networks that provide support for all age groups. Formal and informal networks create opportunities for fostering connection across age, race, ethnicity and class, thus building a shared sense of community.” - From Communities for All Ages’ Intergenerational Community Building: Resource Guide