A recent article in the Washington Post* tells of an age restricted community that is discovering that the original developer is building not more of the same but family friendly homes on their turf. They bought homes with age focused amenities and rules for quiet living. Instead of the being majority they will become the minority, worrying about traffic, school buses and their needs being overshadowed.
Why do a small portion of seniors choose voluntary segregation by age while others fight to to stay in their original communities? Those who choose the gated communities of Florida for example do so very purposefully. Boomers and seniors worry about crime, they prefer homes that are made for living on one level and the HOA iron clad guarantee of a quieter leisure based life style. They are becoming an even smaller minority.
In general studies have found that living in multi generational communities leads to longer life spans. Here the terms start to meld together; there are multi-generational communities, multi-generational households. Inter-generational communities is a newer buzz word around preventing isolation and utilizing the talents of all ages. Even bigger new buzz word – inter-generational interdependence. I could go on but I will stop the sociological verbiage and put in real context.
Think of it as fairy tale that will hopefully have a happy ending.
Once upon a time I grew up in a multi generational neighborhood. People of all ages lived side by side. To raise our own family we choose to live in another multi- generational neighborhood with good schools. When faced with an empty nest and no job obligations, we choose to move to another multi generational neighborhood that was more affordable and closer to the birds that flew out of the nest.
Being sound of mind and fortunately healthy we choose not to move to an age restricted community. We could have taken our nest egg of everything we owned and placed our bet on a continuing care community that would promise to provide everything until death due us part. Or we could have moved to an age restricted home development where sightings of the younger generational would be confined to day trips out to the real world.
Instead we are here, where the snow falls, grass grows and we are responsible for doing or hiring help to keep up with it. We have neighbors 80 years apart in age and enjoy participating in the fun our bigger community has to offer. Our day is our own to be lazy or industrious.
As the years go by, we hope that our community becomes more creative and willing to find new ways to push the independence limits as far as they can safely go. Solutions will be found for those of us who want to stay where the birds chirp and the sun sets over the mountains.
As Bod Dylan once sang, the times they are a changing. Being out here on this side of the wall, maybe we all can help change things for the better.
Image:Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_poselenov’>poselenov / 123RF Stock Photo</a>