Is Intergenerational Housing the Next Big Thing in Senior Living?
You already know the importance of intergenerational programming in senior living, but how do you feel about intergenerational housing? As elder care providers look to innovate their communities for the incoming Silver Wave, intergenerational housing is a conversation that keeps popping up. Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is Intergenerational Housing & How Does it Benefit Seniors?
If you’ve never heard of intergenerational housing, it is the concept that seniors, young adults – most often students –, and even families with children can live together in one harmonious environment. The rationale behind this is it makes it is easier for us to connect with and understand one another.
For seniors, it is thought to be especially helpful in easing the loneliness and isolation potentially caused by leaving their own home. Research posted to Live Your Retirement states that intergenerational housing can also help seniors (and communities) in the following ways:
- Facilitates the expression of solidarity, commitment, and bringing generations together
- Extends house supply and develops youth mobility
- Prevents senior’s loss of independence
- Optimizes energy consumption by using vacant rooms
H.O.M.E. – Intergenerational Housing in Action
H.O.M.E. – Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly – offers a great model for how intergenerational housing can work. According to their website, H.O.M.E. helps Chicago’s low-income, older adults to live independent and socially engaged lives by providing intergenerational housing, home repair services, a shopping bus, moving assistance, and caring volunteers.
H.O.M.E. residents have two living options to choose from: a private apartment or Good Life Senior Residences. While other intergenerational housing programs only have students living with seniors, H.O.M.E.’s programs also include families with school age children. This provides a congenial environment for those who wish to connect and share with other generations on a daily basis
Why We May NEED Intergenerational Housing
In our latest Senior Living State of the Industry Report, we referenced the expected arrival of the 2025 Baby Boomer cohort – a whopping 10.2 million of them. According to Renae Smith-Ray, research scientist in the Center for Research on Health and Aging at University of Illinois at Chicago, historically only 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. population has been 65 and older, but within the next four decades that percentage is expected to grow to 20 percent.
While the sheer volume of new residents in the future may seem overwhelming, finding supportive housing isn’t the only problem senior housing providers will face. There will also be recruitment issues and, likely, a funding gap caused by overstressed resources from government agencies and social services.
“We’re going to need to begin thinking outside the box much more regularly to deal with the needs of our aging population,” said Smith-Ray. ”This type of housing arrangement (intergenerational) is one terrific example of that.”
Learn More About Market Trends in Senior Living
While 10 years may seem like a long time to prepare for the incoming tsunami of Baby Boomers, it’s really not that far off. You need to start thinking now about how to ready your business for the Boomers – intergenerational housing is just one idea.
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