Heart to Heart

Intergenerational Programs

We close generation gaps through meaningful connections.

Bridging the gap

The World Health Organisation has declared loneliness and social isolation as global public health priorities across generations. Notably, the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns disproportionately affected both children who missed out on school/play opportunities and older people who had reduced face to face socialisation.

Aligned with our focus on SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing, at commonkind, we run Intergenerational Programs to tackle ageism, target loneliness and social isolation and close generation gaps through targeted activities that provide mutual benefit across generations.

Both generations report improvements in mental, physical, and cognitive health as well as a greater sense of belonging and connectedness and reduced ageism between generations.

Benefits of Intergenerational Programs for young people:

  • Babies and toddlers as young as 9 weeks demonstrate higher levels of interaction and cooperative play with an older adult1  
  • Preschoolers show improved vocabulary and language ability2
  • Children report greater confidence, empathy and self-regulation of behaviour3
  • Teenagers show improved sense of self and identity and experience improvements in mental health4

Benefits of Intergenerational Programs for older people:

  • Improved physical and psychosocial health, cognitive function, social relationships, and well-being/quality of life5.
  • Reduced social isolation from interacting in new groups and forming new friendships6
  • More positive attitudes towards youth and more agency to address neighbourhood concerns7
  • Improved pleasure and significantly reduced disengagement behaviours for people with dementia8

Benefits of Intergenerational Programs for society:

  • Reduced ageism and age discrimination between generations9
  • Strengthening intergenerational ties reinforces neighbourhood trust among local residents10
  • Positive workplace outcomes such as improved mental health and an increased sense of community11

Testimonials for our Heart to Heart Intergenerational Programs

Hear from some of our participants:

Want to join the fun?

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  1. Jarrott, S. E., & Smith, C. L. (2011). The complement of research and theory in practice: Contact theory at work in nonfamilial intergenerational programs. The Gerontologist, 51(1), 112-121. https://doi-org.proxy.library.nyu.edu/10.1093/ geront/gnq058 ↩︎
  2. Femia, Elia & Zarit, Steven & Blair, Clancy & Jarrott, Shannon & Bruno, Kelly. (2008). Intergenerational preschool experiences and the young child: Potential benefits to development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 23. 272-287. 10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.05.001. ↩︎
  3. Detmer, M. R., Kern, P., Jacobi-Vessels, J., & King, K. M. (2020). Intergenerational Music Therapy: Effects on Literacy, Physical Functioning, Self-Worth, and Interactions. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 18(2), 175-195. https://doi. org/10.1080/15350770.2019.1670318 ↩︎
  4. Kim, J., & Lee, J. (2017). Intergenerational program for nursing home residents and adolescents in Korea. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 44(1), 32-41. https://doi. org/10.3928/00989134-20170908-03 ↩︎
  5. Lee, K., Jarrott, S. E., & Juckett, L. A. (2020). Documented Outcomes for Older Adults in Intergenerational Programming: A Scoping Review. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 18(2), 113-138. https://doi.org /10.1080/15350770.2019.1673276 ↩︎
  6. Gualano, M. R., Voglino, G., Bert, F., Thomas, R., Camussi, E., & Siliquini, R. (2018). The impact of intergenerational programs on children and older adults: A review. International Psychogeriatrics, 30(4), 451-468. DOI: https:// doi.org/10.1017/S104161021700182X ↩︎
  7. Giraudeau, C., Bailly, N. Intergenerational programs: What can school-age children and older people expect from them? A systematic review. Eur J Ageing 16, 363–376 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-018-00497-4 ↩︎
  8. Lu LC, Lan SH, Hsieh YP, Lan SJ. Effectiveness of intergenerational participation on residents with dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nurs Open. 2022 Mar;9(2):920-931. doi: 10.1002/nop2.919. Epub 2021 May 22. PMID: 34021969; PMCID: PMC8859040. ↩︎
  9. Dykstra, P., & Fleischmann, M. (2018). Are societies with a high value on the Active Ageing Index more age-integrated? In A. Zaidi, S. Harper, K. Howse, G. Lamura, & J. Perek-Bialas (Eds.), Building evidence for active ageing policies: Active Ageing Index and its potential. (pp. 19-37). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-6017-5_2 ↩︎
  10. Murayama, Y., Murayama, H., Hasebe, M., Yamaguchi, J., & Fujiwara, Y. (2019). The impact of intergenerational programs on social capital in Japan: a randomized population-based cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 156. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6480-3 ↩︎
  11. Kamei, T., Meguro, S., Yamamoto, Y., & Kanamori, T. (2020). St. Luke’s Intergenerational Day Program; Nagomi-nokai (Harmonized Program) Program Profile. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 18(1), 106-112. https://doi.org /10.1080/15350770.2020.1709952
    MacKenzie, S. L., Carson, A. J., & Kuehne, V. S. (2011). The meadows school project: A unique intergenerational “immersion” program. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9(2), 207-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/153507 70.2011.568343 ↩︎