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Highlights from The Seniors Housing News’ Report on Intergenerational Housing

Retirement populations are changing—and so are retirement communities. Consumer demand, economics, demographics and land use are all driving the need for homes that accommodate older adults who want a higher quality of life.

Because unlike the stereotypes of yore, today’s active generation boast better health, rising life expectancy, and fulfilling days. They want to remain connected to the world so they can share a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, wisdom, skills, and experience with the younger generation.

As such, they demand a new housing model. A recent report by Senior Housing News outlined how we are living in a time where there is a new opportunity for intergenerational housing. Here are some highlights from the report.

What is Intergenerational Housing?

Also called “multigenerational living,” the concept of “intergenerational housing” brings together different age groups so they can interact freely and conveniently. It solves many kinds of housing issues by using methods ranging from master-planned communities that contain neighbourhoods based on age to mixed-use apartment communities that include daycare or a preschool as well as homes for older adults.

Three popular intergeneration arrangements geared towards older adults include mixed-use senior living with a preschool or daycare. There are also family households with multiple adult generations living under one roof and all-age communities that include older adults.

Communities around the globe are exploring different intergenerational housing methods. In Boston, the homesharing company Nesterly is bringing together graduate students with empty-nest older adults in a homeshare pilot program. It’s estimated that Nesterly could allow young adults to save $24,000 per year.

There are 6 trends changing intergenerational senior living outlined in the report. These include:

  • Embracing the tenets of New Urbanism, which includes building communities for eight-year-olds, eighty-year-olds and everything in-between, the report states.
  • Intergenerational is the new mixed-use. “Essentially, senior living operators can think of intergenerational senior living as mixed-use senior living where the intermingling age groups is the mixed-use,” states the report.
  • Building partnerships, even with competitors to provide services benefitting all ages and generations.
  • Understanding the power of affinity groups when creating intergenerational housing arrangements.
  • Urban senior living “in reverse”, which means building cities and towns around older adults, instead of the alternative.
  • Lifelong aging-in-place. Candy Ho, co-founder and director of the Vancouver’s Element Lifestyle Retirement, spoke to this in the report. Her over 16-year commitment to senior housing comes from her father, Don Ho, who pioneered aging-in-place senior living and assisted living throughout Canada. Her foray into intergenerational living also stems from him. When he retired and focused on helping his wife succeed against Parkinson’s disease, she wanted to create a new type of community in her hometown of Vancouver where both her healthy father and mother could thrive and yet stay close to their extended family.

And so, opening in 2019 will be Opal’s first intergenerational community, which integrates residents of different age groups into the same building or suite. This impresses as just the first of three such communities. Younger family members, such as grandkids, are welcome.

For more information about Element by Opal, visit