Intergenerational Programmes bringing together community dwelling non-familial older adults and children: A Systematic Review

Ruth Peters, Nicole Ee, Stephanie A. Ward, Gail Kenning, Katrina Radford, Micah Goldwater, Hiroko H. Dodge, Ebony Lewis, Ying Xu, George Kudrna, Myra Hamilton, Jean Peters, Kaarin J. Anstey, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Anneke Fitzgerald, Kenneth Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Social isolation is associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes, including functional decline, cognitive decline, and dementia. Intergenerational engagement, i.e. structured or semi structured interactions between non-familial older adults and younger generations is emerging as a tool to reduce social isolation in older adults and to benefit children and adults alike. This has great potential for our communities, however, the strength and breadth of the evidence for this is unclear. We undertook a systematic review to summarise the existing evidence for intergenerational interventions with community dwelling non-familial older adults and children, to identify the gaps and to make recommendations for the next steps. Methods: Medline, Embase and PsychInfo were searched from inception to the 28th Sept 2020. Articles were included if they reported research studies evaluating the use of non-familial intergenerational interaction in community dwelling older adults. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020175927 Results: Twenty articles reporting on 16 studies were included. Although all studies reported positive effects in general, numerical outcomes were not recorded in some cases, and outcomes and assessment tools varied and were administered un-blinded. Caution is needed when making interpretations about the efficacy of intergenerational programmes for improving social, health and cognitive outcomes. Discussion: Overall, there is neither strong evidence for nor against community based intergenerational interventions. The increase in popularity of intergenerational programmes alongside the strong perception of potential benefit underscores the urgent need for evidence-based research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104356
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Intergenerational interaction
  • aged
  • children
  • healthy aging
  • intergenerational engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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