As America’s population ages, many service providers and educators realize the potential in linking young and old people through intergenerational programs. These programs bring together children/youth and older people for mutual benefit. Shared site intergenerational programs are those where both generations receive ongoing services at the same time at a single site. Typically, these programs include a child care program with a nursing home or adult day services program. Intergenerational shared sites can contribute to positive relationships and emotional well being of young and elderly participants while supporting family caregivers.
The purpose of intergenerational programming is mutual benefit through planned interactions. Intergenerational programs have been used in diverse settings to benefit targeted populations (e.g., youth at risk of drug use or older adults with dementia) and to achieve a wide range of educational, developmental, and psychosocial benefits. Several objectives and benefits are associated with intergenerational activities. These objectives are divided into four main categories: social, psychological/emotional, physical, and intellectual/cognitive.