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Intergenerational Community Building: Lessons Learned

Overview

With the growing senior population in America, the gap between the percentage of older adults and children/youth in the total population is narrowing. It is estimated that by 2030 these groups will be roughly the same in size. Communities for All Ages (CFAA), a place-based community building effort that helps organizations and individuals break away from age-specific silos, organized this report to promote policies and practices that are needed in order toadopt a sense of generational interdependence, and bring resources together to improve the quality of life for all generations.

Key Points

This report describes strategies, challenges, outcomes, and lessons learned from this multi-site national initiative to organize communities for all ages. Twenty-three sites participated in a three-stage CFAA process, which included assessment, planning, and implementation. Assessment involved the creation of a CFAA team, and assessment of resources and challenges of the community. Planning involved the creation of action and evaluation plans. Implementation involved the execution of initiatives based on the assessment and planning. Nearly all the CFAA communities chose to focus on improving health, increasing neighborhood safety, or enhancing education and lifelong learning.

Important outcomes included:

  1. Health: Increased access to healthy, affordable food, and information about healthy eating: New community gardens were created, farmer’s markets were established, and multi-generational cooking classes were held.
  2. Safety: Improved safety through decreased levels of violence and increased trust and connection between residents of multiple generations and law enforcement.
  3. Education: Increased school achievement among youth, introduction of parent education programs, and increased levels of older adults volunteering in local schools.

How to Use

This report is useful for community planners and local officials because it details the efforts of 23 communities that have successfully implemented strategies to make communities more livable for residents of all ages. It provides details around the initiatives executed, as well as outcomes, organizational alliances created, and funding support. While there are a number of positive outcomes, the report also discusses the challenges faced and overall lessons learned for each community.

View full report: Intergenerational Community Building: Lessons Learned (PDF – 5.3 MB)