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The impact of intergenerational programs on children and older adults: a review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2017

Maria Rosaria Gualano
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Gianluca Voglino
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Fabrizio Bert*
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Robin Thomas
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Elisa Camussi
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Roberta Siliquini
Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Fabrizio Bert, Department of Public Health, University of Torino, Via Santena 5 bis, 10126 Torino, Italy. Phone: +390116705817; Fax: +390116705889. Email:



Elderly are at particular risk of social isolation. This condition significantly affects health; on the contrary, social involvement can be extremely advantageous. In this context, intergenerational programs improve interactions between different ages. Then, we conducted a review regarding intergenerational programs, to summarize the effects of these activities on both elderly and children.


Our review followed the PRISMA statements. We considered papers reporting data about intergenerational programs involving children (preschool and elementary) and elderly.


The final selection obtained 27 sources. Ten studies evaluated children's outcomes outlining the positive impact of intergenerational programs upon children's perception of elderly. The effects on older participants were variegated considering well-being, depression, self-reported health, and self-esteem. Moreover, the retrieved studies outlined the importance of a careful organization and of a specific training for all staff members. The staff involved in similar programs appeared, overall, highly satisfied.


The positive impact on children of intergenerational programs is proved at both short- and long-term. Moreover, despite the different outcomes considered and the variable results, these programs resulted overall beneficial on elderly participants. Finally, similar activities resulted feasible even in case of older adults with dementia.

Review Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2017 

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