Aging Together: Exploring Age-Restricted & Intergenerational Communities

Author: judyjudy

Aging Together: Exploring Age-Restricted & Intergenerational Communities


As older adults contemplate their living arrangements in later years, one question often arises: Should I reside in an age-restricted community, surrounded exclusively by peers of a similar age, or opt for intergenerational living, embracing the diversity and energy of people of all ages? While both options have their merits, the debate over which is healthier for older adults remains largely unexplored. As seniors weigh their choices, it’s essential to consider the unique benefits and challenges of each living arrangement.

Age-restricted communities have long been a popular choice for older adults seeking a sense of community and belonging among peers. Whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or continuing care retirement communities, these environments offer a sanctuary where older adults can age gracefully while surrounded by others who share similar life experiences and interests. In 55-plus developments, residents have the option to purchase houses and condos, fostering a sense of ownership and stability.

According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, there are approximately 540 active adult communities with 82,000 units offering market-rate rental properties for seniors. These communities provide a range of amenities and services tailored to the needs and preferences of older adults, including fitness centers, social activities, and on-site healthcare options. For many seniors, age-restricted communities offer a sense of security, camaraderie, and peace of mind as they navigate the journey of aging.

However, the allure of intergenerational living is undeniable for many older adults. The opportunity to interact with people of all ages, from young children to older adults, can enrich one’s life in profound ways. Intergenerational communities foster connections across age groups, promoting mutual understanding, empathy, and a sense of belonging. By breaking down generational barriers, these communities create vibrant, dynamic environments where people of all ages thrive together.

While age-restricted communities provide a sense of camaraderie among peers, intergenerational living offers a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters social engagement and personal growth. Research has shown that intergenerational interactions can have numerous benefits for older adults, including improved mental and emotional well-being, enhanced cognitive function, and a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Despite the potential advantages of both age-restricted and intergenerational living,
there is a paucity of research comparing the health outcomes and overall well-being of older adults in these different living arrangements. As seniors grapple with the decision of where to reside in later years, it’s essential to consider their individual preferences, needs, and priorities. While some may thrive in the companionship of age-restricted communities, others may find fulfillment in the diversity and vitality of intergenerational living.

For older adults exploring their housing options, several resources and organizations offer valuable insights and support:

  • AARP: AARP provides articles, guides, and resources on housing options for older adults, including information on age-restricted communities and intergenerational living. Explore AARP
    Eldercare Locator: Eldercare Locator offers assistance in finding local resources and services for older adults, including housing options and support networks. Visit Eldercare Locator
    National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM): NASMM provides resources and guidance for seniors transitioning to new living arrangements, including tips on downsizing, packing, and moving. Visit NASMM
  • LeadingAge: LeadingAge is an association of nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing the field of aging services. Their website offers resources on senior housing options, policy advocacy, and professional development opportunities. Explore LeadingAge
    Next Avenue: Next Avenue is a digital publication focused on issues relevant to older adults, including housing, health, and finance. Their website features articles, videos, and resources to help seniors make informed decisions about their living arrangements. Visit Next Avenue offers comprehensive guides and resources on senior living options, including independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. Their website provides tools to help seniors and their families navigate the process of finding the right housing solution. Explore
    The National Aging in Place Council: The National Aging in Place Council offers resources and information on aging in place, including tips for modifying homes to accommodate changing needs and preferences as individuals age. Visit The National Aging in Place Council

As older adults navigate the complex landscape of housing options, it’s essential to consider the impact of living arrangements on their overall well-being and quality of life. How do you envision your ideal living environment in later years: surrounded exclusively by peers in an age-restricted community, or embracing the diversity of intergenerational living? Join the discussion in our forum and share your thoughts and experiences.
Together, let’s explore the possibilities of aging gracefully and vibrantly in communities that nurture and support us at every stage of life.