Some thoughts on Age Segregation
I just stumbled on a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star titled Fewer ‘geezer-ville’ communities needed.
Debra Conova writes “Younger people should be around older people and older people around younger people.”
Since I have been writing and talking about this frequently, I feel that Debra captures the thoughts of the majority of the public. It’s not to say that those moving to age segregated housing are not happy with their move. However, most people I talk to state that the move was to receive services, downsized lifestyle and not to get away from younger people.
Debra also states, “age groups can serve the needs of the other. We need communities that are user-friendly to all, with a mix of ages, ethnicities, races and incomes. We need communities that are not car-centric. We need sidewalks, community grocery stores, parks, plaza areas for children to play and people to socialize, and places you can walk to shop and work.”
The challenge we face is transforming our neighborhoods to meet the diverse needs of our residents. It will take creativity. If feel like our current system presents the “easy” option . . . pay your rent here and we will deliver these services.
In the April edition of AARP Bulletin there is a great story titled Reinventing Home: Happy Together, it summarizes 4 alternatives to age segregated housing that we have mentioned frequently on this blog:
- Niche Communities – senior communities with a specific focus like retired military, LGBT, university based location, how about a community for NASCAR fans!
- Cohousing – sharing and helping is easy when we live in close proximity and we have focus
- Greenhouses - unique alternative to institutional nursing homes
- The Village Model - growing alternative for aging in community
These options are a great start, like senior housing communities they each have their pros and cons, my hope is that this list of creative alternatives swells in the next few years and combined with traditional senior communities thinking outside the box we can begin to live in a world where Debra Conova doesnt need to make a statement like “As a baby boomer, geezer-ville is not a place I would even consider.”