Like other aspects of their life, Boomers are redefining what community means to them as they age. Fewer are moving to age-restricted retirement communities and more are opting to age in place. They often seek living environments that offer intergenerational connections, proximity to family and friends, and activities that are mentally, physically and socially stimulating. They are moving into cities and town centers that are within walking distance of basic needs and services. Urban planners, architects, public health officials have begun building such “livable cities” – creating communities that actually work well for people of all ages.
Niche communities enable folks to come together around shared lifestyles or backgrounds. Examples include the Burbank Senior Arts Colony for retired or aspiring artists, musicians, actors and writers; Aegis Gardens which caters to older Asians; Rainbow Vision which serves primarily gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients, and the innovative Bridge Meadows, a community designed for foster children, adoptive parents, and elders. University-based communities are another popular option. Located near college campuses, these communities enable residents to attend college classes and athletic or cultural events.
Cohousing is making a comeback among both mid-life and younger adults who seek community and pooled resources for more sustainable living. Members live in private homes which are augmented by extensive common grounds and facilities. There are now numerous such communities, with more in development.
Village Movement creates support services for existing neighborhoods that enable individuals to remain in their own homes but receive vetted and discounted services like home maintenance, transportation and grocery delivery as well as social engagement opportunities. The first village was established in 2002 at Beacon Hill in Boston. Such ‘villages’ have grown throughout the country and more are being developed.
Green House Project is a de-institutionalization effort designed to transform long-term care. Created by a gerontologist, individuals live in small homes within a personal care and clinical services community that provides the same services of a high-quality nursing home.The Green House concept is spreading and continues to gain momentum.
Did you know?
In a 10-year longevity study, researchers concluded that close family relationships, although important, were less likely than a network of good friends to increase longevity in older people.
Building Health in Our Communities – 2007 (0:41)
Richard Jackson, MD, MPH
Immigrants and Boomers: Building a New Social Contract – 2007 (0:48)
Dowell Myers, PhD