As seen in parts I & II of this series, Int-Gen facilities provide countless benefits to their community members, and should be much more frequently integrated into our society. But how can those outside the walls of these inspiring nursing homes find new Int-Gen friendships? Here are some examples of how Int-Gen relationships are being promoted in cities around the world:
Cohousing is a communal living arrangement where people own their private living spaces, but share common spaces, such as outdoor facilities and dining areas. The idea was first implemented in Denmark, partly influenced by Bodil Graae’s 1967 article, “Every Child Should Have 100 Parents.” Further, cohousing was a way to proactively address the peculiar phenomena of loneliness and isolation experienced by citizens of bustling cities. It was a brilliant way to design for happiness, making it easy and natural for neighbors to cross paths and build rich friendships. If this type of “village living” interests you, take a look at this directory, created by the Cohousing Association of the United States, to find a cohousing facility near you.
This delightful initiative is a community effort to provide seating for seniors in busy downtown areas. Too often, mature adults refrain from strolling through town because there isn’t anywhere to rest if they get out of breath. This promotes isolation and prevents Int-Gen relationships from growing organically in public spaces. Therefore, Age Friendly Nottingham is urging local shops and businesses to place a seat outside their stores. Amazingly, 150 businesses and community venues have already stepped up to join the cause, slapping a “We Are Age Friendly” sticker proudly on their windows. The movement was sparked in New York, and is now being implemented in countries around the world, with some businesses also offering drinks and bathroom access.
For grandparents visiting their grandchildren, or vice-versa, what better place to enjoy quality time than at the local park? This was exactly the motivation for city park organizations in Chicago and Kansas, who wanted to provide much needed outdoor play facilities for residents of all ages. The Grandparents Park in Wichita, Kansas even has an exercise facility designed specifically for senior citizens. The success of the idea is on display everyday, as both of these parks are highly used resources for sunshine, exercise, and fun bonding activities. Talk to your local park services to see if your neighborhood can provide a similar gift for Int-Gen play.
These are just a handful of the innovative ideas bringing generations together around the world. What’s most promising is the direction of these trends, which are only gaining more popularity as time goes on. And in supporting these ideas and initiatives, we, too, can be an integral part in the change, promoting Int-Gen relationships in our local communities.