Intergenerational Learning and Care RFI

 

Request for Information: Intergenerational Learning and Care

Issued by
The Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation, Inc.
Key Dates
Release date: June 12, 2019
Respond by: January 1, 2020
Submissions
Send your responses to info@naomi.org. Please use the subject line: RFI: Intergenerational Care – Your Organization or Name

Please note that this request is for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation for grant applications. We are not currently accepting grant applications or inquiries. You can learn about our grant process here on our website.

 

Purpose

 The Naomi Foundation seeks input regarding the potential development of new funding streams to support intergenerational learning and care. Responses submitted through this request for information (RFI) will provide insights about best practices, trends, and needs in the field with the goal of identifying models of care that forge multigenerational bonds while addressing social problems.

Background

Around the world, people are living longer and healthier lives. According to a recent report, the global proportion of people over age 65 will grow from about 8.5% today (617 million) to 17 percent (1.6 billion) in 2050.[1] By 2035, the elderly population in the United States will outnumber children for the first time in the country’s history.

This demographic shift brings with it many challenges, including the need for a new infrastructure of quality programs and services for the aged. Social isolation and loneliness are of particular concern as people face the loss of peer groups and geographical seclusion from their families. Research shows that 46 percent of older people “sometimes” or “always” feel lonely,[2] and that social isolation and loneliness are associated with increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and premature death.[3] The trend also brings opportunities as older people enjoy longer retirements and seek purpose in their lives through sharing their experiences and skills.

The growth of intergenerational programs is one response to these challenges and opportunities. These programs pair younger generations with elders in the same physical location, with planned and/or informal activities that bring them together on a regular basis.[4] Models of intergenerational learning and care include retirement communities with on-site daycare, in which residents read to and interact with young children; home visit programs, in which youth provide companionship and meals for older adults; mentorship programs, in which seniors tutor and counsel young people; and oral history projects, in which people work together across generations to record and present individual and local histories.

Such programs address the need for services for both young and old, especially in communities where there may be limited resources for the development of new programming and facilities. They can help to solve social problems and sometimes achieve cost savings through the sharing of space and personnel. Most importantly, they foster caring communities that bring purpose to the lives of multiple generations.

Research on intergenerational learning and care shows that older participants may experience improved physical and mental health, decreased isolation and loneliness, and an increased sense of belonging, self-esteem, and well-being.[5] In one study, 97% of adults in a shared site reported feeling happy, interested, loved, younger, and needed.[6]

Young people who participate in intergenerational programs may experience increased learning and academic performance, greater self-esteem, enhanced family relations, and improved social and emotional skills, such as empathy, social acceptance, and patience.[7] In addition, participation in such programs can improve perceptions of older adults, as well as attitudes toward other groups, including people with disabilities, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.

Notwithstanding the potential benefits of intergenerational learning, it has been a challenge to garner widespread support for them, and many of those that get off the ground are short-lived. One study revealed that most intergenerational programs discontinued within two years of their creation.[8] Government regulations related to funding, health, and licensing differ for youth and adult populations, making many intergenerational programs challenging to develop and sustain.

Additional research and inquiry is needed to determine whether intergenerational models of care reflect an effective and sustainable solution to some of the challenges facing an increasingly aging population.

Information Requested

The Naomi Foundation’s priorities include leadership in education and advancements in healthcare that create lasting impact. More broadly, we value innovations that are meaningful on both an individual and a societal level. In line with this mission, the foundation is requesting information relating to needs and strategies in the area of intergenerational learning and care. This RFI is an opportunity to inform the foundation’s thinking about effective ways to improve the quality of life for older adults and forge multigenerational connections that are beneficial to children and the broader society. We seek input from health and social service professionals and other experts on the following questions and any additional information pertinent to the topic:

  • Is intergenerational learning and care an effective and sustainable approach to challenges facing both young people and the elderly? Why or why not?
  • What are the greatest benefits and challenges in developing and sustaining intergenerational models of learning and care?
  • What models of intergenerational learning and care are most prevalent, feasible, and/or effective? Are there specific approaches that are favored? If so, why?
  • What are best practices and needs regarding intergenerational learning and care?
  • Are there notable institutions and/or individuals in the field of intergenerational learning whom we should know about?
  • Where might funding be best directed in order to support the growth and success of programs that promote intergenerational learning and care?

We welcome your written comments to the questions above, and would also be happy to arrange a phone or in-person interview. We invite you to share existing papers or literature that will shed light on the issue, and to introduce us to colleagues who are positioned to help us on our learning journey.

Please send your responses to info@naomi.org.

We are most grateful for your responses!

Additional Information

The Naomi Foundation extends its sincere gratitude to those who have taken the time to share their expertise and insights with our team.

Please be aware that this RFI is for internal education and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for grant applications or a commitment for funding of any kind. Participation is voluntary, without compensation, and will not bear upon future funding decisions by the Naomi Foundation. The foundation will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. You agree that you will not submit any information that may be considered business sensitive, proprietary, privileged or otherwise confidential or that is protected by applicable laws (including without limitation any information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or other data privacy laws) or that you are otherwise under an obligation not to disclose or keep confidential. The Foundation will not pay for or reimburse any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this RFI. We will endeavor to acknowledge receipt of information and answer questions and comments by responders, but may not be able to do so with respect to every submission.

Please direct any further inquiries to info@naomi.org.

 

Sources

[1] U.S. Census Bureau and World Health Organization. (2016). An Aging World: 2015. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p95-16-1.pdf.

[2] Cigna. (2018). 2018 Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index. Retrieved from https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8294451-cigna-us-loneliness-survey/docs/IndexReport_1524069371598-173525450.pdf.

[3] Hakulinen, C., Pulkki-Råback, L., Virtanen, M., Jokela, M., Kivimäki, M., & Elovainio, M. (2018). Social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for myocardial infarction, stroke and mortality. Retrieved from http://heart.bmj.com/content/early/2018/03/16/heartjnl-2017-312663; and Ducharme, J. (March 26, 2018). Loneliness Can Actually Hurt Your Heart. Here’s Why. TIME.

[4] Generations United and The Eisner Foundation (2018). All in Together. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/06/SignatureReport-Eisner-All-In-Together.pdf.

[5] See, for example: United for All Ages, (2018). Mixing matters: how shared sites can bring older and younger people together and unite Brexit Britain. Retrieved from https://www.housinglin.org.uk/_assets/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Mixing-Matters-how-shared-sites-can-bring-older-and-younger-people-together-and-unite-Brexit-Britain.pdf; Generations United and The Eisner Foundation (2018). All in Together. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/06/SignatureReport-Eisner-All-In-Together.pdf; Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs. (2002). Intergenerational Learning and Care Centers. Retrieved from https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/seniorscommission/pages/final_report/generationsUnited.html; and Jansen, T. (January 20, 2016). The Preschool Inside a Nursing Home. The Atlantic.

[6] Generations United and MetLife Foundation. (2008). Intergenerational Shared Sites: Saving Dollars While Making Sense. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/05/SharedSites-Report-SavingDollarsWhileMakingSense.pdf.

[7] See, for example: United for All Ages, (2018). Mixing matters: how shared sites can bring older and younger people together and unite Brexit Britain. Retrieved from https://www.housinglin.org.uk/_assets/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Mixing-Matters-how-shared-sites-can-bring-older-and-younger-people-together-and-unite-Brexit-Britain.pdf; Generations United and The Eisner Foundation (2018). All in Together. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/06/SignatureReport-Eisner-All-In-Together.pdf; Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs. (2002). Intergenerational Learning and Care Centers. Retrieved from https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/seniorscommission/pages/final_report/generationsUnited.html; and Generations United and MetLife Foundation. (2008). Intergenerational Shared Sites: Saving Dollars While Making Sense. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/05/SharedSites-Report-SavingDollarsWhileMakingSense.pdf.

[8] Generations United and MetLife Foundation. (2008). Intergenerational Shared Sites: Saving Dollars While Making Sense. Retrieved from https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/05/SharedSites-Report-SavingDollarsWhileMakingSense.pdf.