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What Is Intergenerational Learning in Senior Living?

Having the opportunity to learn new things every day is key to a fulfilling retirement, and sharing those experiences with younger generations makes it even more meaningful. Whether you’re sharing stories from the past or learning how to navigate new technology, spending time with young people helps older adults feel valued and young at heart. There’s something special about programs that promote learning and interaction across multiple generations, and that’s what makes intergenerational learning so much fun!

What Is Intergenerational Learning?

Intergenerational learning happens when people from multiple generations come together to learn and share experiences. There’s a transfer of knowledge that happens when younger generations learn from older generations (and vice versa). Intergenerational learning goes beyond gaining skills and imparting knowledge. It’s also about spending time together in ways that help us understand each other better, overcome generational barriers and grow as a society.


A variety of benefits are associated with intergenerational learning, including improved well-being for both younger and older generations. Research continues to show that the benefits of forming meaningful relationships across generations are mutually beneficial. Intergenerational volunteering has been shown to positively affect seniors’ mental and physical health, and having a mentor can be a valuable — and even life-changing — experience for younger generations.


Learning a new skill builds a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence for people of all ages. Young adults have the opportunity to learn from their elders, while older adults enjoy the chance to share wisdom, engage in intergenerational activities and perhaps tap into memories from their own school days. These interactions can help older adults stay sharp and gain a sense of purpose.  


Exciting Opportunities for Intergenerational Learning

Having an open mind when it comes to learning new things is important, and where you live also matters. That’s why we’re passionate about supporting intergenerational learning opportunities as part of our lifelong learning programming. 


At John Knox Village, we strive to achieve our mission of enriching lives and building community every day. In addition to a robust offering of lifelong learning classes, we also build partnerships with area schools to provide rich and varied experiences for students and older adults. These partnerships are mutually beneficial because they provide opportunities to learn and grow while also building new friendships across generations.


Some of the intergenerational programs residents have participated in include:

  • A Virtual Intergenerational Project through the University of Central Missouri involved matching residents and students to participate in phone or video chats. This program promotes communication and understanding between generations by pairing up students and residents with similar interests.
  • A Mentoring Program with University of Missouri-Kansas City that connects medical students with residents at John Knox Village. This long-standing partnership provides opportunities for young medical students to learn about aging as a unique and diverse process, as well as learning about effective communication through interacting with older adults.
  • A partnership with R-7 Lee’s Summit School District on a variety of projects pairing residents and students with the goal of learning and growing through shared experiences.


Keep Learning and Growing at John Knox Village

If you’re looking for a retirement community with a rich tradition of lifelong learning, you’ll love the life-enriching amenities and activities offered on our campus. John Knox Village has been participating in a wide array of educational enrichment opportunities for residents and students in all stages of their education. To learn more about intergenerational programs offered at our Life Plan Community in Kansas City, MO, contact us today.