The Benefits of Intergenerational Living

Did you ever stop to consider that living in a retirement community actually increases your ability to meet people of all generations as you age? Probably not!

Many people think that moving to a retirement community means that they will be living only among people their own age or older. Yet, factor in the community’s employees, family members, and visitors of all ages, intergenerational events on campus, and resident volunteer opportunities and the reality is very different.

Multi-generational brings multiple benefits

Why does this matter? As we age, our social connections often diminish. This can be for a variety of reasons that include physical changes that affect our ability to get out and about and a shrinking social network. And that’s bad for our physical and emotional well-being.

Intergenerational connections bring added – and different – benefits: new ideas, trends (and slang!), different ways of seeing the world and solving problems, and lots of energy and laughter.

Connecting with youth on- and off-campus

Here are a few of the many intergenerational programs that are constantly evolving across the Asbury system – many of them started by residents at the community:

  • Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative at Asbury Methodist Village forges connections between people of all ages and backgrounds. With more than 100 volunteers, it was recently recognized as a Program of Distinction by Generations United and runs a variety of educational, mentoring and arts programs for pre-K through adulthood.
  • Book Buddies at Bethany Village takes resident volunteers into the classroom at Monroe Elementary School to work with young readers.
  • Pen Pals at Springhill Senior Living brings 3rd graders and residents together to work on writing skills while each fall, incoming freshmen from Mercyhurst University hold a tech support workshop with residents.

In addition to opportunities like this, a common refrain heard from new residents at all of our communities is how warm and friendly staff members are – and how quickly friendships blossom between them. Campus events where they have a chance to mix and mingle are common. And the feeling is mutual. When asked what they most enjoy about working for Asbury, associates are quick to respond with “the residents!” Hear what one associate has to say.

Research on the impact of social connections on our physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being is clear – the more we stay engaged with people of all ages the better off we will be.


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