Intergenerational Programs: Bringing Youth and Seniors Together


When children and older adults spend time together, something magical happens. Children have a delightful energy that brings so much joy to retirees.  At the same time, the patience and positive regard of older people can help kids develop healthy self-esteem. Moreover, research shows that connecting youths with seniors benefits all parties.

Bringing Youth and Seniors Together in ASC Retirement Residences

Retirement residences are often portrayed as serene communities for older adults, offering a peaceful environment for relaxation during the golden years. However, All Seniors Care communities have introduced a dynamic shift with intergenerational programming becoming increasingly popular.

Intergenerational programs are designed to bring together different age groups –  primarily youth from the community at large and older adults in our retirement residences – to foster mutually beneficial interactions.

Little Rebels Music and Development Join Forces with All Seniors Care

On May 23rd, 2024, a group of Little Rebels arrived at Summit Heights residence in Hamilton, bringing with them infectious energy and joyful music. Their presence spread happiness and laughter throughout the community. Residents were overjoyed! For an hour, they sang along with local toddlers, creating an atmosphere of pure bliss.

This unique program, designed for children aged 2 months to 5 years, brought joy and excitement to everyone who participated. With a curriculum promoting cognitive learning, muscle development, and confidence, the class encouraged everyone to sing and move along to Broadway, Motown, and Rock ‘n’ Roll tunes.

The pilot of the Little Rebels Music and Development Intergenerational class was such a success that the program is set to become a regular event at Summit Heights and is expanding to Ottawa! Keep an eye on our News & Events page for details.

Why Do We Invite Youth to Our  Residences?

In today’s fast paced world, it’s important to find ways for people to connect and enhance each other’s lives.  Encouraging activities and relationships between young and older people can build meaningful intergenerational connections that have long-term, mutual benefits. Let’s have a look at some of these benefits.

Benefits for Seniors in Intergenerational Programming:

  • Enhanced Social Connections: Reduce loneliness and social isolation by forming meaningful relationships with younger individuals.
  • Cognitive and Physical Stimulation: Encourage mental engagement and physical activity through interactive activities like games, arts and crafts, and exercise classes.
  • Emotional Fulfillment and Purpose: Provide a sense of purpose and self-worth by sharing knowledge and mentoring younger generations.
  • Mental Health Benefits: Decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhancing overall mood and mental well-being.
  • Skill Development and Learning: Offer opportunities to learn new technologies and trends from younger participants. This can also build a tolerance and appreciation for “modern culture”.
  • Community Engagement: Promote involvement in the community, fostering a sense of belonging and shared responsibility.
  • Creating Lasting Memories: Interacting with children and youth builds beautiful memories, contributing to long-term happiness and comfort.

Benefits for Kids in Intergenerational Programming:

  • Learning Opportunities: Gain practical life skills and knowledge, such as cooking, knitting, and traditional crafts.
  • Cultural and Historical Awareness: Learn firsthand about history and culture through personal stories and experiences shared by seniors.
  • Emotional Support and Guidance: Kids may receive valuable mentorship and wisdom, gaining unique insights and life lessons.
  • Improved Social Skills: Develop empathy, patience, and better communication skills through interactions with older adults.
  • Mental Health Benefits: Development and maintenance of mental and emotional well-being is cultivated throughout life. Young people learn these skills through social interactions with people who already possess them.
  • Community Engagement: Foster a sense of social responsibility and belonging by participating in community-based activities.

No matter how young or old participants are, studies have shown that taking part in intergenerational relationships inspire everyone with an overall sense of purpose and compassion.

Intergenerational Activity Ideas from Our Residences

If you are looking for some inspiration for activities that work well across generations, here are our suggestions of things to try that foster meaningful connections and enjoyable experiences between different age groups:

  1. Storytelling – whether its swapping life stories or creating new ones, storytelling is a great group or one-on-one activity.
  2. Arts and crafts – engage in painting, pottery, or collage making to encourage both parties to express their creativity and collaborate on a shared project.
  3. Cooking or baking – preparing meals together is a great bonding exercise as well as an opportunity to learn and share recipes, culinary traditions, and cooking skills.
  4. Share hobbies – whether you love gardening, reading, photography or music, pair up with a like-minded soul and enjoy together!
  5. Outdoor activities – take part in nature walks or sports activities that encourage individuals of different ages to engage in physical activities together. You’ll not only promote fitness and well-being, but you’ll learn about the natural environment together too.
  6. Volunteering – participating in community projects such as helping at foodbanks, assisting local charities, or walking dogs for the Humane Society will not only foster a sense of shared purpose but also allows for the exchange of skills and experiences.
  7. Family history projects –create your family tree, or simply organise photo albums together to connect over a shared heritage and learn about family roots, traditions, and values. The reminiscence will benefit older adults, particularly those experiencing cognitive decline.
  8. Create awareness projects – research and create a project together for an awareness day. June has several important days: Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st. The month of June is also Men’s Health Month!

Intergenerational programming at retirement residences offers a surplus of benefits, from enhancing social connections and bridging the generation gap to providing cognitive and physical stimulation. These programs foster a sense of purpose, community engagement, and emotional fulfillment for all participants. By bringing together different generations, we create a more inclusive, understanding, and cohesive society. As these programs continue to grow in popularity, it is clear that they play a vital role in enriching the lives of both the young and the elderly, creating lasting memories and fostering mutual respect and appreciation.

Contact a residence near you today to learn about the amazing intergenerational programs being offered. To read about the many monthly events – and see pictures – be sure to read the monthly  All Seniors Care Family Newsletter.


Writer  – Julianna McLeod

Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.

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