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Intergenerational Housing: A Concept of Solidarity

— by Live your retirement in Senior Living
Two seniors and a young lady having fun playing puzzle at home

Intergenerational housing might sound new to some, but in reality, it’s been around for a long time. In fact, it started in Spain in the late 1990’s. After some years, France adopted the concept in 2004.

Since then, intergenerational housing has been uniting the older and younger generation, letting them communicate and work together.

What is intergenerational housing?

Also known as intergenerational living, intergenerational housing is a concept that enables seniors to open their homes for young adults who can’t afford apartment fees. Typically, a student or fresh grad lives with the elders and pays less for rent. Some young people are even welcomed free of charge.

House in the City is one of the organizations that offer housing solutions for young adults, including intergenerational housing. One of the people they helped was Theo, an urban planning student. He lives with George who is 89 years old. Despite the age gap, they get along really well and their relationship is in good harmony.

George decided to open his home to younger people when he found himself alone in his big house. He needed some company. “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.

Theo enjoys the experience and the intergenerational friendship he has with his landlord. “It lets me take a step back and adapt myself to a slower lifestyle a bit. It’s really rewarding and I feel less pressure.”

The benefits and objectives of intergenerational housing

The main objective of intergenerational housing is to unite generations and give them a sense of community. Because of this, the compatibility of the landlord and tenant are strongly considered.

Below are the benefits of intergenerational housing.

  • Fights loneliness and isolation
  • Facilitates the expression of solidarity, commitment and bringing generations together
  • Extends house supply and develop youth mobility
  • Reassures the families of both elderly and young people
  • Prevents senior’s loss of independence
  • Optimizes energy consumption by using vacant rooms

Intergenerational housing in Quebec

In Quebec, there are intergenerational homes which allow parents to live with their children. Typically, the parents provide a space for their young adults. There are still house rules and the children are expected to follow them.

However, not all cities allow this kind of accommodation. The regulations differ from one another as well.

In addition, the definition of “intergenerational home” or “bigenerational home” varies to one city from another. In some places, the dwelling must be separated by a firestop or have a different address. Other properties must have an annex at the same level, and they can share the same address.

In 1998, several municipalities allowed the construction of intergenerational homes. But the question is, will they also implement the concept of intergenerational housing like what France did? Will they allow the seniors to open their homes to young non-family members?

We really hope so. Intergenerational housing is such a great trend to follow. It’s not only the future of housing but also the future of a stronger community.


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