4 Intergenerational Trends in 2018
The Western culture may be falling behind the intergenerational trends but it’s coping fast, especially for our senior citizens. In some cultures, especially in Asia, this intergenerational lifestyle is nothing new. Living with their elderly and completing three to four generations in a household is plain normal. Now, intergenerational living shows how the world will benefit altogether.
In May 2017, Generations United together with The Eisner Foundation released “I Need You, You Need Me: The Young, the Old, and What We Can Achieve Together” emphasizing on the benefits of intergenerational living. In one of their survey results, 2 in 3 adults would like to spend more time with other people outside their age group. While in Australia, research shows that 1 in 5 lives in a multi-generational household with the ratio even increasing.
New Urbanism is definitely on the path of building intergenerational cities. New Urban planning is now building hybrid and mix-use infrastructures that would change our way of living. In Singapore, the new trend is to develop communities and even cities to suit all ages. In 10 years, the baby boomers would all be living on their retirement. These new innovations are not just best for the environment and the society but best for the aging baby boomers.
Despite the idea being new, the housing programs and community developers have now taken into consideration building intergenerational communities and cities. WOHA architects’ Kampung Admiralty Singapore won the 2018 World Building of the Year at the World Architectural Festival. It integrated social housing provisions for the elderly with a medical center, and broad mixed-use programs like a community plaza, and a childcare facility. Much like the Grace Living Center in Oklahoma, and the Columbia Garden Village in Invermere, British Columbia, the seniors and preschoolers in the intergenerational community benefit from each other’s company. It stimulates learning for the children and increases emotional support for the seniors.
The New Normal Family
Living in retirement would now be one that we could look forward to with the new trend of young families keeping their parents close by or living with them. The trend is now rising in Australia with “granny flats”. Builder Summit Homes says there is about 54% increase in inquiries about granny flats and a 10% increase in actual sales over 2017. ABC News interviewed Dr. Edgar Liu from the University of South Wales where he stated that baby boomers prefer to live at home rather than residential aged care.
He said, “In the survey that we did, more than half of the people said that finance was one of the reasons why they did it and there are many different subcategories in that.” Just like the Bruyninckx and Feary family, the parents invited their daughter’s family to their house and added a granny flat for them. He also noted that “Certainly for a lot of our participants, they said, ‘Well I can’t bear the thought of sending my mother to a home, I would much rather have them live with me, I can take care of them much better than any professional can’.”
The new trend of choosing to take care of our parents is starting in Canada and the United States, too. Asians who have migrated with their families didn’t forget their culture of keeping families together even as they live in the West. These add to the rising number of the new “normal” families. In Quebec, there are intergenerational homes where parents provide space or extension for their adult children.
Solidarity for Social and Business Engagements
New Urban planners work with longtime developers in integrating their new ideas. The contenders of Kampung Admiralty Singapore don’t fall short. They are either mix-use or green communities that could also house multi-generation communities. Villages are planned with consideration of all ages. The developers no longer think of just profit but delivering communities that would be valuable to both the baby boomers and millennials.
Senior citizens no longer have to worry about looking for communities that suits them. New Urbanism set that innovations are made for all ages and must benefit the society. Besides, based on “I Need You, You Need Me”, 92% of adults believe that elders benefit from building relationships with children and youth. In Spain, intergenerational housing has been observed before the 20th century and France followed through. Intergenerational housing is when seniors open their homes for students or young adults who can’t afford to rent their own. It is a win-win situation for both.
A Lifestyle of Diversity
Traditional settings are no longer noticed today. New and interesting are ideal. More than 3 in 4 Americans wish there were more opportunities in their community for people from different age groups to meet and get to know one another. There is beauty in intergenerational relationships. The young learn from the older one and the older one enjoys the companionship. The generation gap is acknowledged positively because the older one serves as a guide for the other.
House in the City is an organization in France that offers housing options to students. Theo, one of those they’ve helped, lived with George who was 89 years old. George didn’t want to live alone so he opened his house for intergenerational housing. “Talking with Theo helps me become more aware of young people’s minds. It’s interesting and beneficial because it prevents me from locking myself in,” he says. While Theo said it helps him to take a step back and live a slower lifestyle that helped him feel less pressured.
There are multiple benefits in now rising intergenerational trends. This article was inspired from 6 Trends Changing the Face of Intergenerational Senior Living of Senior Housing News.