Benefits of A Little Help

AARP research has found that nearly 90% of older adults want to stay in their homes rather than move to the home of a relative or to the more prevalent path to assisted living or a nursing home before it is a necessity. Approximately one-third of seniors will spend time in a nursing home. 10,000 people are turning 65 every day, and Denver is considered the country’s Baby-Boomer capital, with Boomers constituting 32.8% of Denver Metro’s total population of 2.4 million people. With the economic realities of shrinking pensions and the uncertainty of government money in the form of Social Security and Medicare, other industry must respond. 

The Village model is the nonprofit sector’s response to this reality. A Little Help is tailoring this model to operate more intergenerationally by reforming it as a community for all ages. Our model addresses a social and economic need in our society. With a rapidly growing population of elders and shrinking resources, A Little Help bridges the gap by connecting people who live nearby as neighbors; the more of these connections we can make, the less taxpayer money will need to be allocated for government intervention to care for seniors. A Little Help can also partner with long-term care facilities to create realistic short- and long-term care plans for our members. We’re striving for a balance of idealism and pragmatism- our model sounds great idealistically and saves money practically; we’re able to increase safety and health for older adults by using resources that are already in each community- good neighbors.

Research conducted by AARP and the Blue Zones project, which studies areas of earth where people live the longest, shows that those who live longer, healthier lives do so by having close relationships with their neighbors and by constantly finding new purpose as they grow older. Belonging to a meaningful community and having a healthy social circle promotes healthful longevity. These studies also indicate that interdependence across generations is crucial. In our adaptation of the Village model, we use resources like the Intergenerational Center at Temple University and have joined organizations including Communities for All Ages and Generations United, which help us meet our mission and grow towards our vision.

  • Strengthens Community: Intergenerational programs bring together diverse groups and networks and help to dispel inaccurate stereotypes. Sharing talents and resources help to create a unified group identity. Children, youth, and older adults are less alienated while the community recognizes that they are contributing members of society.

  • Maximizes Human Resource: Intergenerational community service programs tend to multiply human resources by engaging older adults and youth as volunteers.

  • Maximizes Financial Resources: When groups representing young and old approach local funders, those funders are more likely to respond positively because they can see broad-based community support. Intergenerational programs can save money and stretch scarce resources by sharing sites and/or resources.

  • Expands Services: Intergenerational community service programs can expand the level of services to meet more needs and address more issues.

  • Encourages Cultural Exchange: Intergenerational programs promote the transmission of cultural traditions and values from older to younger generations, helping to build a sense of personal and societal identity while encouraging tolerance.

  • Inspires Collaboration: Intergenerational programs can unite community members to take action on public policy issues that address human needs across the generations.