North American seniors are living healthier, longer lives than any generation that has come before them. Why are aging adults experiencing fewer physical ailments and more disability-free years? According to a recent Harvard study, “one of the most powerful contributors is improved medical treatment, especially better cardiovascular health and vision care.”
As Americans continue to shift towards healthy aging, goals for retirement and senior living have shifted as well. Seniors in North America expect more when choosing assisted living, favoring communities with an emphasis on integration and social interaction.
Intergenerational Assisted Living Communities
Intergenerational (or multigenerational) assisted living is a recent trend in senior housing that allows elderly seniors to cohabitate in the same community as their own senior children – and the results are incredibly positive.
Glen Meadows Retirement Community
The New York Times profiled a senior living community operated by Presbyterian Senior Living – this one in Glen Arm, Maryland – that supports intergenerational assisted living. Glen Meadows is a community “in which residents can go from independent living to assisted living… as their needs mount.”
Allen Geiwitz, 71 and his mother Hilda, 95, each have their own one-bedroom main floor apartment; however, Allen is still able to check in on his mother to provide caregiving, companionship and oversight of her medications anytime, day or night.
Releasing the responsibility of being a full-time caregiver to his mother allows Mr. Geiwitz to reclaim his role as her son while being free to enjoy his own activities and hobbies:
“I can focus on what my mother needs and still have a life for myself,” he says. Mrs. Geiwitz agrees that the set-up at Glen Meadows is ideal, saying that “it makes it very homelike” to have her son nearby. “It’s working out great,” she tells the New York Times.
Presbyterian Village North
Located in Dallas, Texas, Presbyterian Village North (PVN) currently has “two generations from at least three families… living at the community at the same time,” Vicki Caldwell, director of residential sales tells McKnight’s Senior Living. The community offers different styles of living depending on the level of care the resident requires, with apartments and patio villas that are geared towards more independent living, as well as skilled nursing suites for residents in need of round-the-clock care.
Caldwell is very proud of the intergenerational engagement the community offers. “It is so refreshing to see families who value time with each other come together to live in the same community and make new memories together,” she told McKnight’s Senior Living, who profiled a multigenerational family who call PVN home.
Betty Chan, 91, her daughter, Pam Altizer, 64 and Pam’s husband, Goose Altizer, 86 all live in independent living within the PVN community.
According to Chan, there are plenty of benefits to this lifestyle. “We eat dinner together several nights a week, we go to the theater, the symphony and many other events,” she says. While the family “love living close to each other,” they also “appreciate having their own space.”
While intergenerational assisted living facilities are not the norm, Steve Maag, director of residential communities for LeadingAge, believes we will see this trend rise as more baby boomers move into the same continuing care communities as their parents.
Would you move into an intergenerational assisted living community? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this senior living trend in the comments below.