The Power of Intergenerational Living

The Power of Intergenerational Living The Power of Intergenerational Living

Spotlight – 4 September 2019

Loneliness and increasing rent costs are two major challenges that confront city-dwellers and these challenges are not exclusive to one age, but can affect both younger and older adults. Individuals seeking a home are addressing this challenge through intergenerational living whereby people without familial connections, who span generations cohabitate. A recent CBC article describes it as “Melrose Place meets Golden Girls”. 

This is an increasing trend according to 2016 census data, due to increasing rent and the availability of rooms in older adults’ homes. Lyle Povah’s living arrangement is one example. He is 64 years old and lives in Vancouver, Canada with three roommates, all from younger generations.

"In the western world, it seems we are really kind of stuck on this nuclear family and a big house … I think that's ridiculous ... and it's not sustainable." – Lyle Povah

A recently aired CBC Radio series further explores these living arrangements in Canada.

Programs have also been developed to address these issues through facilitating student and older adult living arrangements. An article from Business Insider describes the Quinnipiac's Students-In-Residence Program where students live in a retirement community in Wallingford, Connecticut. The program has been a huge success and as one student, Victoria Kozar, describes "This place was more full of life than many of my college classrooms … My other friends wanted to spend more time there than anywhere else."     

IFA expert Ms Donna Butts is an expert in intergenerational connections and health and ageing. Contact her for an expert opinion on the impacts of intergenerational connections and programs and consider attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing where the theme Combatting Ageism will showcase good practice on reducing social isolation, loneliness and abuse.