The TIIN Concept Seen in the Stories of Our Community
This is illustrated in the story of the Rice Family, who have become regular volunteers, currently serving together on the Board of Directors and various working committees.
The Rice Family
Mike and Carrie are glad to have played a role in the development of the Hope & A Future TIIN model. They have enjoyed including their extended family and community in volunteer efforts, including yard work, cooking, construction, special events-even inviting Grandpa Sherbeck to throw the first pitch at a Mallards Game.
Technical Research Supporting the TIIN Model
Hope & A Future is developing the first Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN). Under this model, we expect to benefit seniors and low SES families with young children in a planned neighborhood. Community members will be engaged through participation in city-wide and neighborhood time-bank programs, activities and classes which encourage relationships to develop around mutual interests.
1) Families of residents have had increased confidence in the care being provided.
2) Residents experienced increased health and quality of life. This is achieved in part, through decreased loneliness and increased social capital and resiliency. (More to come on these themes in future blog articles.)
3) The Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN) at Hope & A Future is distinct from other programs. It adds unique value to residents and the broader community. Bringing people together from different ages and backgrounds creates a unique mix of talents and resources known as social capital. This is illustrated well through Cami’s Story.
To promote meaningful relationships between young and old, empowering individuals to serve and strengthen one another in a diverse, faith-based, green community.
To develop a Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood (TIIN) that is sustainable and replicable.
Our Program Model
Interactive–We believe people need to help as much as they need to be helped. We will facilitate a culture of volunteerism and healthy interdependence among resident and non-resident community members.
Intergenerational–Young and old will live side-by-side in intentional community, each benefiting from others’ strengths; to this end, we will facilitate relationships of mutual support between people of different generations and diverse backgrounds. Seniors and young people will mutually benefit as loneliness and social isolation is decreased, yielding improved physical, mental and situational well-being.
Neighborhood–We will preserve and integrate green spaces with a built environment that encourages stable, active, intentional community engagement. Healthy and frail seniors will be able to age in place, families with young children will gain a foundation that allows them to build toward a better future. Quality of life will improve as life is shared among neighbors.
Review of Technical Literature
We are creating supportive community for seniors and families with young children. Earheart et al. (2009) note that an intentional, intergenerational neighborhood is therapeutic with increased well-being as a natural byproduct. Relationships fostered through the reciprocal exchange of social capital are the foundation for this therapeutic milieu (Earheart et al., 2009; Hopping, et al., 2013), and increased perceived social support is significantly linked with better health and longevity (Shor, et al. 2013). It is also known that intentional community impacts social determinants of health as outlined by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health framework.
This results in positive outcomes for residents. Kaplan, Sanchez, and Hoffman (2017) state, “…intergenerational programs and practices provide important avenues for protecting societies’ most cherished values. These values are tied to: how we can lead healthy, meaningful, caring, civically engaged, productive lives” (p. 186).
Kaplan et al. (2017) note that, the best bridge among people who perceive themselves to be dissimilar in race, gender, ethnicity, creed, and age is regular shared experience. Intergenerational programs have been shown to break down negative beliefs and stereotypes that different age cohorts hold about one another (Kaplan et al., 2017).
Thomas and Blanchard (2009) assert that seniors often fear a loss of independence and nursing home placement more than death. The concept of aging in place generally refers to staying in one’s home as long as possible (Baker, 2014), however aging in place does not necessarily equate with happiness as those who live in their own homes may still experience social isolation and loneliness. Thomas and Blanchard (2009) state, “aging in place with its dwelling-centric approach, relies heavily on dollar-denominated professional and paraprofessional services while offering older people little or no opportunity to create or deploy reserves of social capital” (p. 14).
Increasing numbers of seniors are moving into intentional communities with the expectation of reciprocal social relationships and support as they age (Baker, 2014). This model of post-retirement living is known as aging in place and is offered in the TIIN model. This includes living in an age-friendly built-environment with accommodations such as wheelchair access and opportunities for on-site activities and social gatherings (Baker, 2014). Intergenerational living offers many benefits to seniors including gaining a sense of purpose, improved health outcomes, and a wide social network of caring neighbors. It removes barriers to interaction with the broader community, allowing seniors to be a resource to others despite increasing limitations in their mobility.
The Impact of Promoting Volunteerism