How Multigenerational Homes Help with Senior Loneliness

The United Nations reports that the global population of people aged 60 and older will exceed 2 billion in 2050. Meanwhile, senior loneliness is one of the most difficult social problems to solve, and all of us will face the same problem sooner or later.  

According to research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, social isolation and loneliness would increase the risk of mental and physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, weakened immune system, depression, and even death. 

Human beings are social creatures. The psychologist Abraham H. Maslow famously proposed the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, which puts the human need for love and belonging as the third most urgent, right after the desire for safety and physical survival. 

Given the magnitude of the senior loneliness problem and the imperative to solve it, some governments have begun to champaign a new habitation model called the multigenerational homes.


What are multigenerational homes?

Multigenerational homes mean that there are at least three generations of people living under one roof. 

Starting in 2011, there is an increasing trend of internet searches and coverage for this new living style of habitation. Some elderly live in a multigenerational home with their families. Some live in housing projects with other people of different generations. 

More and more governments are funding multigenerational style of housing projects to provide affordable housing for both seniors and younger people and encourage people of different ages to support each other and develop meaningful relationships.
Living with others, no matter what your age, can be challenging. This kind of housing projects usually have private spaces and communal areas.

Giving seniors more freedom

Different from nursing homes, multigenerational housing projects are not meant to be nursing homes that take care of the elderly, but it is meant to be a space where the elderly can live independently. 

For the younger generations, they provide the seniors with help and company in exchange for affordable housing. The environment encourages different generations to interact meaningfully. 

How multigenerational homes work around the world

In this decade, there are more and more efforts around the world to encourage young people to live with the elderly.

For example, Residence Roosenburch is a housing complex in Holland that rents idle rooms to students at a very low price. College students are obliged to be “good neighbors” for 30 hours a month, in exchange for accommodation. Students also participate in labor services to lower accommodation fees.

The Judson Manor Nursing Home in the United States offers free accommodation to graduate students of the academy of music. The students would hold recitals for the residents who love classical music.

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