Intergenerational Senior Living
Intergenerational senior living has been shaping the aging experience for quite a while, but developers today are thinking of new ways to increase the benefits and successes of this concept. Some now view it as a master-community planning model, which requires billion-dollar investments and massive acreage acquisition for a mixed community where older adults can live in residential units that are submerged in an “urbanistic” vibe. This model is concerned not only with housing constructs, but with the community around the residential units.
This new plan for intergenerational modeling comes from the tenets of New Urbanism, where the belief is that the surrounding environment matters for quality of life, economy, and public health. An ideal goal of this model is for older adults to be offered active lifestyles, surrounded by a vibrant, bustling community that is a mix of different ages and ethnicities.
Developers are approaching this model through mixed-use communities, aging in place, and partnerships. Mixed-use communities are entire communities that are integrated with younger and older adults who can benefit and depend on one another, whether for assistance for young parents and their children, or older adults to have an exciting community around them.
Aging in place can now mean that residents can live in their homes while in their 80s and beyond, through expert design of making homes more accessible. Another key concept is steering away from competition between the new urbanist movement and traditional senior housing, but rather finding ways to incorporate the two.
However, simply making a community of older adults in an urban environment will not produce true intergenerational interaction. Thoughtful design through additions of parks, festivals, and something as simple as park benches facing each other will help to break down barriers between different groups of people.