The annual Environments for Aging Conference + Expo, held April 13-16 in Atlanta, will feature a variety of keynote and breakout sessions.

Environments for Aging is previewing some of the upcoming educational sessions in a series of Q+As with speakers, sharing what they plan to discuss and key takeaways they’ll offer attendees.

Session: Intergenerational Living for All—Findings, Insights, and Best Practices from the SAGE-AIA Design for Aging Joint Intergenerational Task Force.”

Speakers: Addie Abushousheh, gerontologist, researcher, and consultant, Organizational and Environmental Development; Craig Witz, principal, Witz Company; Greg Hunteman, principal, Pi Architects; Lisa Warnock, Glow Interior Designs LLC; and JinHwa (Gina) Paradowicz, associate principal, Perkins Eastman.


Incorporating intergenerational design and programming is top of mind for many in senior living, and designers, developers, and operators are adopting diverse approaches to embrace this trend.

This presentation will present the findings, insights, and best practices from the SAGE-AIA Design for Aging Joint Intergenerational Task Force based on a recent survey and discussion with their members.

The speakers will highlight communities, both domestic and international, that incorporate best practices in intergenerational design and operations and provide actionable takeaways for attendees.

Environments for Aging: Why is intergenerational design and programming important to today’s seniors?

Addie Abushousheh

Addie Abushousheh (Headshot credit: Addie Abushousheh)

Addie Abushousheh: We believe incorporating intergenerational design and programming is a fast-moving trend in senior living, one that has marked implications to owners and developers and offers a very different experience to residents.

While “intergenerational” can essentially mean “facilitating meaningful interaction between residents of a senior living community and non-seniors other than staff,” it can be done in a variety of ways, including:

  • On-site programs that create intergenerational opportunities in a senior living setting.
  • On-site community areas in senior living settings that are open to the public or people of all ages.
  • On-site, age, integrated, or inclusive living accommodations in settings that are also supportive of senior living.
  • Senior living settings with easily accessible, off-site amenities and programs that are non-age segregated and inclusive.

Lisa Warnock (Headshot credit: Lisa Warnock)

Lisa Warnock: We also believe it is especially important and timely as the next generation of consumers expect a more inclusive and integrated model of aging in society. In addition, the social benefits of intergenerational communities are compelling, including fighting stigma of aging and reducing social isolation, just to name a few.

What design elements should communities consider to better support intergenerational connection and programming?

Craig Witz

Craig Witz (Headshot credit: Craig Witz)

Craig Witz: The range of setting and programming that afford resident intergenerational interaction on senior living campuses varies, including:

  • Exclusive resident use with no or minimal interaction with non-seniors.
  • Mix of resident and nonresident. Use with some or all common-area amenities open to the public with daily intergenerational activities.
  • High degrees of common spaces open to residents and nonresidents and possibly non-seniors living on campus.

Examples of these strategies include: on-site daycare or childcare, coffee shops and dining areas open to the public, community fitness areas open to staff and seniors, on-site classrooms for college classes or lecture series open to the public, art gallery spaces open to the public, and on-site playground, to name a few.

What did the SAGE-AIA Design for Aging Joint Intergenerational Task Force set out to study about this trend?

Greg Hunteman

Greg Hunteman (Headshot credit: Greg Hunteman)

Greg Hunteman: In the absence of a cohesive approach to integrating intergenerational connections, we are seeing designers, developers, and operators adopting diverse approaches to embrace this trend. We wanted to learn how those inside and outside the industry felt about this trend as well as what specific intergenerational elements worked the best and which did not.

All of us on the Task Force, based on our individual and professional experience, feel strongly about the benefits of this trend, and we wanted to study the opinions of a diverse group of stakeholders to see where there was support, and where there was a lack of support or interest.

The Task Force was also interested to learn about how the term “intergenerational” is interpreted by a diverse group of stakeholders and to see to what degree of intergenerational interaction most stakeholders agreed was beneficial.

Finally, the group wanted to learn what specific elements of design might be supported in moving this trend forward.

What’s a finding from the study that you’ll share with attendees during the session?

JinHwa (Gina) Paradowicz

JinHwa (Gina) Paradowicz (Headshot credit: Perkins Eastman Architects)

JinHwa (Gina) Paradowicz: We received just under 500 completed surveys (492 to be exact) from a wide range of respondents. We are still crunching the data—which includes both qualitative and quantitative elements. We’ll also share the outcomes of the suggestions for additional considerations from respondents.

For more on the 2024 EFA Conference schedule and registration, visit environmentsforaging.com.