Retirement Communities for all Ages
My time living in a retirement community as an able bodied 43 year old allowed me to see the benefits of living side by side with my elders as their neighbors. I feel that they also saw the benefit of having someone who does not fit the traditional resident age and ability profile living with them as a resident and not a visitor or staff.
This experience really got me thinking more about possibilities to make communities inclusive of all ages and abilities and the benefits that can be reaped by doing so. Addressing the stigma of senior housing in my last post, you definately can’t call communities “old age homes” anymore if young generations are living there too!
Throughout the country there are some communities being developed specifically to embrace grandparents raising their grandchildren. I realize that there are limitations and challenges to a concept like this and they won’t be for everyone, but I feel like its a step in the right direction to create exciting and vibrant communities. I can see huge benefits to both generations in this concept.
Another approach that I am a huge fan of is the development of communities on or near college campuses. Could we someday see a college dorm/retirement community combined? Again, I know there are challenges to these concepts and they won’t be for everyone!
Cohousing is also a concept that embraces this concept. It’s interesting that there is a movement within the Cohousing to create “senior” cohousing communities. My feeling is that the ideal cohousing community (or community for that matter) would not have any “labels” or age restrictions.
I know there are some communities that have created living accomodations for their staff and families on or near their campus.
I really like how Andrew Bleckman explored some of the challenges that age restricted communities face in his book Leisureville. I don’t think that there is a quick or easy solution to this concept, I am hopeful that we begin to see more people approach the idea that communities can seemlessly blend all ages and abilities together as neighbors.