The Golden Girls 2.0

by Jan Bennett on August 22, 2011

Tagged as: Association / Cooperation / Acceptance of Fallibility / Safety

In many cultures, the home is a place where family gathers. It is common practice to have multi-generations living under one roof, unlike the typical American makeup of nuclear family unit. Many members of the extended family household will say that there is a feeling of safety, closeness and community in this given makeup.

This being said, it is no secret that Americans have become known for their independence; after all, that is main premise upon which the country was forged. Yet, it seems that all of this independence might not be the answer for some members of our nation.

As the Baby Boomer generation (making up a large portion of the U.S. age group) continue to experience better health and prolonged longevity –  their piggy banks are not. To help combat this trending issue, a group of senior men and women decided to do something to take preventative action. Home sharing, an idea originating from Denmark, is becoming a more common practice for this aging cohort, especially during the continued state of economic chaos. This solution is rapidly gaining in popularity among all who are involved, be they residents or family members of these seniors.

While senior-only co-housing might not be the solution for all, it is a perfect fit for a lucky few. Just ask the members of the Glacier Circle Community in Davis, California, an area of Sacramento. This co-share began in 2005, and was the first of its kind in America. The members of Glacier Circle share a bond, and it is for this reason that this community was conceived. Through pulling their funds together they were able to purchase an acre of land that serves as this unique home site. All decisions were made by the original members, from the paint colors to the admittance of future residents. The level of care and thought that has gone into this venture has certainly paid out for these seniors. There are a couple who have passed on, and another who relocated to a facility due to constant care needs. Glacier Circle remains steadfast in their commitment to each other and enjoy the freedom that this opportunity has afforded them.

Since Glacier Circle, four similar senior communities have popped up. According to the Co-housing Association of the United States, 12 more of these senior-only co-housing structures are currently in the planning stages. The Glacier Circle residents welcome the living arrangements. They are allowed to enjoy their community without the rigidity of facility rules and stifling recreational times. These seniors have full control of their own time and activities. Another thing that they have control over is their freedom. Living in this type of community, the members have a built-in safety system. They have each other. So the worry of a loved one being alone is alleviated from children of these seniors, and the seniors themselves. To read more about this community, go to The Sacramento Bee.

The dynamics of the American family are changing exponentially. With the rapid growth of an aging American population and the rapid shrinking of family incomes, more and more middle-aged women and men are caring for not only children, but elderly parents. This can put a strain on all members of the family. Bearing in mind that we will all be seniors one day, what do you feel the best solution would be for you? Know of any other possible solutions out there? If so, send them our way.

 

Re-posted with permission from stateofthereunion.com.

Home page photo: Gabriel Rocha