It is estimated that nearly 7.8 million children live in “grand families” (families where grandparents are the primary caregiver of children). Established in 1986 by leaders from the National Council on Aging, Children’s Defense Fund, Child Welfare League and AARP, Generations United is an organization committed to the advocacy of planning and policy solutions for all generations. Community planners and local leaders should use the website as a resource for issues and challenges that impact all ages, and to discover solutions or policies that work for intergenerational communities.
The website has four main categories: About Us, Our Work, Resources, and Press. There are also nine subcategories that are accessible on every page. These include public policy, program (these are local community programs advocated by Generations United), grand families, seniors4kids, shared spaces, multigenerational, together blog, calendar, and conference. Each is designed to provide resources on policy and planning issues for multigenerational homes, shared spaces, public policies, and advocacy opportunities.
Other website highlights include:
- The Our Work link provides programs and projects specific to Generations United.
- The Shared Spaces link has information and resources on creating community spaces accessible to all ages. In particular, the Grand families page addresses a growing but often ignored group in the U.S., grandparents, who find themselves raising grandchildren.
- The Resources and Press pages both have a host of publications and articles available about intergenerational community projects and issues. Generations United has also developed a robust fact sheet that is chalked full of intergenerational community resources and ideas for the local planner and leader.
How to Use
Millions of families are impacted by multigenerational households. As communities struggle to adjust for an older demographic, they also need to adjust for livable communities in which all generations can thrive. The Generations United website helps planners and leaders determine how to do exactly that. Community planners and local leaders should use the site to learn more about the challenges facing intergenerational communities and grandparents raising grandchildren. Also, Generations United is one of the few organizations actively uniting grandparents as a policy advocacy group on behalf of children (Seniors4Kids). Finding out which initiatives and methods that can help older adults champion children in your own area may be a way to further strengthen community ties.
View full report: Generations United Website (2012)