At a special housing development in Oregon, families who adopt foster children live side by side with seniors who volunteer their time in exchange for affordable rent. The NewsHour’s Cat Wise reports how members of the intergenerational community find support and connection together.
“We’re flourishing and evolving in this environment, and we’re growing big time. If you go to live in an apartment complex with a bunch of older people, for instance, people kind of wither away, and it’s really not right. Connections across the generations is critical, absolutely critical for aging well.”
Demand for housing at Bridge Meadows remains high from seniors and adoptive families. Some 8,000 children in Oregon’s foster care system are awaiting permanent placement. Construction on a new property, across town, is expected to begin next year. And Bridge Meadows staff are now consulting with several other communities around the U.S. that are planning to open similar developments in the coming years.
One of the most serious problems with senior living is isolation, particularly when one of the spouses dies. If there are no children, and that is more and more the case now, then the survivor is pretty much left to fend for herself. It is nice to see different forms of alternative living popping up around the country. Now, I admit that an intergenerational community is not for everyone. Some of us just don’t want to be around a bunch of hyper-kids in our senior years. 🙂
My wife and I did not marry until we were both over forty and she was already in a stress induced menopause so children were not an option for us. Even if that were not the case I was leery of having children as there was a distinct possibility of passing my form of deafness to them. We talked about adoption but procrastinated even on that option until it was too late for practical reasons. So, we are among those who have no family to help us in our senior years.
My wife simply loves our home of the last fourteen years and is determined it will be the last house she lives in. I am doing what I can to help her fulfill that dream. She has had a dozen or so major surgeries over the last decade or so and her health is usually on a precarious stand. So, I will likely be on my own sometime in the future. What will I decide to do in those circumstances? I simply don’t know right now. My options seem somewhat limited but I will not be without choices.