Bridging the Generation Gap – Benefits of Multi-Generational Housing Campuses

by Stan Spellman | IIDA, CID, CHID, NCIDQ | Senior Vice President

Our office brings four generations together to collaborate and learn from each other to create a true team. As a baby boomer, I often find it energizing to work with younger generations and appreciate getting new ideas. Combining different generations within the same office provides many benefits for all ages.  These benefits can extend beyond the work environment and into the living environment. In this post, we will explore some of the benefits of multi-generational housing for seniors, children, and everyone in between.

 WHAT ARE MULTI-GENERATIONAL HOUSING CAMPUSES?

Multi-generational housing campuses (MGHC) are residential developments, like small towns, that offer living spaces for people of different ages and life stages, from young children to seniors. Like a small town or a college campus, distances to access services are compressed, and travel consists of walking, biking, golf cart, or bus. These campuses are designed to foster intergenerational interactions, social support, and community engagement while also providing high-quality services and amenities for the residents.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

SENIORS who live in MGHC can enjoy several advantages, such as:

  1. Improved health and well-being
    Seniors who have regular contact with younger generations tend to have better physical and mental health, lower rates of depression and loneliness, and higher levels of life satisfaction. They can also access health care services and staff on-site, as well as preventive and wellness programs tailored to their needs.
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  2. Enhanced social and cultural capital
    Seniors interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences can enrich their knowledge, skills, and perspectives. They can also share their wisdom, stories, and traditions with younger generations, creating a sense of legacy and belonging.
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  3. Increased safety and security
    Seniors who live in multi-generational housing campuses can benefit from a safe and supportive environment where they can rely on their neighbors, staff, and family members for help and assistance. They can also enjoy the peace of mind of living in a well-maintained and monitored property.
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  4. Continued Education Opportunities
    When located with a university, the opportunities for continuing education, the arts, and interaction with faculty and students of all ages are expanded.

CHILDREN who live in MGHC can also reap many rewards, such as:

  1. Enhanced academic performance and outcomes:
    Children with access to quality education early in life, high school graduation, and college education can improve their chances of living longer and healthier lives. They can also benefit from educational resources and opportunities, such as tutoring, mentoring, scholarships, and career guidance.
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  2. Improved social and emotional development:
    Children who have positive relationships with older adults tend to have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and lower levels of behavioral problems. They can also learn from the values, morals, and ethics of their elders, developing a sense of respect and responsibility.
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  3. Increased exposure and appreciation for diversity:
    Children interacting with people from different cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds can broaden their horizons, develop empathy and tolerance, and celebrate diversity. They can also enjoy the fun and joy of intergenerational activities, such as arts, entertainment, dining, shopping, healthcare, and maintenance.

 

ALL AGES of people who live in MGHC can also experience many benefits, such as:

  1. Reduced financial stress and burden:
    People who share living expenses with their family members or other residents can save on housing costs, utilities, transportation, childcare, elder care, and other services. They can also take advantage of the economies of scale and collective bargaining power from living in a large community.
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  2. Strengthened family bonds and support:
    People who live close to their relatives or friends can enjoy more quality time with them, as well as provide and receive emotional, practical, and financial support. They can also balance their personal and professional lives more easily by having flexible work arrangements or working from home.
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  3. Increased civic engagement and social responsibility:
    People who live in multi-generational housing campuses can contribute to the common good of their community by volunteering, donating, and organizing events or projects. They can also participate in the decision-making processes that affect their living conditions by joining committees or boards.

Multi-generational housing campuses are not only a viable option for people who want to live with their family members or other generations but also a valuable asset for society. Creating spaces where people of different ages and stages can harmonize harmoniously while enjoying high-quality services and amenities. Multi-generational housing campuses can promote health equity, social justice, and intergenerational solidarity.

By focusing on purposeful design in multi-family housing, you’ll attract new tenants and create a community that stands the test of time.

Sources: (1) freddiemac.gcs-web.com (2) gallup poll november 2023 (3) what it means to design with Gen Z in mind – multi-housing news (multihousingnews.com). (4) Banner Image: Kimball Etc. https://www.kimballinternational.com/all/brands/etc

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