Innovations in intergenerational lifestyles

In honor of International Day of Older Persons this Friday, Cassandra is covering three initiatives bridging the generations. In our State of Mind report, Cassandra described the loneliness epidemic, with Gen Z being the loneliest of all age groups, even more so than the elderly. Luckily, young people and older people are finding creative ways to connect right now. Dr. Weissbourd, a psychologist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, explained, “The elderly have so much to share with young people–wisdom about love, work, friendship, mortality and many other things… And young people have so much to share with the elderly about a rapidly changing world–not just technology, but new and important ways of thinking about race and racism, justice, sexuality and gender and other critical issues.” Read below to learn about some collabs between the cohorts.


Cassandra has covered how the pandemic has catapulted the trend of intergenerational housing across the globe. New apartment complexes are looking for ways to mix ages in a meaningful way, encouraging education, engagement, and even physical activity. One pioneering project is called Agrihood–the “county’s first mixed-income urban-farm based housing community.” Located in Santa Clara California, Agrihood will welcome low-income seniors and veterans onto an urban farm. Whether residents are gardening, chatting in the community room, or learning at the shed, all ages are welcome. Lara Hermanson, co-owner of Farmscape explained, “We’re going to be having, essentially, an intergenerational hangout on this farm.” Resident applications are available starting in 2023.


This next initiative gives teens a break from texting. The LGBTQ Caller program connects older and younger members of the LGBTQ community for weekly phone calls to promote meaningful dialogue, learning about LGBTQ experiences, all while building intergenerational friendships. The program is part of the WISE Project, started by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill student Gray Rogers.


Developed by Encore.org, the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship program unites visionaries of all ages on a shared goal: to bridge generational divides. Fifteen fellows are given access to financial funding along with mentoring from experts in order to share ideas and create solutions towards social isolation, racial inequality, and climate change. The nonprofit’s founder Marc Freedman shared, “We started the 20th century as one of the most age-integrated societies in the world and ended it as the most age-segregated.” However, he is hopeful cohorts can build a better future, explaining, “There’s been a blossoming of creativity in bringing young and old together since the onset of the pandemic.”