Rationale and Benefits

“The needs and desires of the aging population are changing rapidly. Innovative solutions to meet the housing needs and provide meaningful experiences for seniors should include regular socialization with all ages. This interaction provides social connections, welcomes intellectual challenges, a sense of relevance, and a genuine plan de vida (Buettner, 2008, p. 223). Together, these create the most supportive and healthy environment for a generation who knows that with resources and resourcefulness they can have what they want and need.” Morgenroth, L. and Hanley, M. 

The Issue: Known negative effects of aging

The Solution: Known social and health benefits of intergenerational living for seniors

  • Regular social interaction improves overall health for seniors
  • Real and meaningful relationships resulting from lots of interaction; this is not possible with “the one-shot-only activity, where kids come into the long-term care facility, sing a song and then go home”
  • Prevents dementia
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • When the housing project is nearby campuses (university-based retirement communities):
  • Positive indicators of social wellbeing may be associated with lower levels of interleukin-6, an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, some cancers
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Social connectivity
  • Prevents elderly from being cut off in “care ghettoes”
    • “‘The old model saw care homes as isolated institutions where things were done to you rather than for you and were islands of misery,’ said former care minister Paul Burstow. ‘Care homes that are cut off from their communities aren’t real homes.’ (British commission)

The Opportunity: Affordable housing benefits for youth/students

  • Reduce financial stresses from college debt
  • Relieves increases in rising housing costs
  • Expand educational experience
  • Mentorship
  • Potentially better living environment
    • “‘Given that student rooms are too small, too dirty and too expensive, this is a fantastic alternative. For 400 euros I’d get barely 100 square feet and I’d have to share the kitchen and bathroom,’ Jurrien said. ‘Here I have twice as much space and I have my own kitchen and bathroom.’ The students can have friends over for drinks and even have a partner over for the night. There is no curfew or other restriction as long as the students are reasonable.”


Hansman, H. (2015, October 16). College students are living rent-free in a Cleveland retirement home. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/college-students-are-living-rent-free-in-cleveland-retirement-home-180956930/?no-ist

Jansen, T.R. (2015, Oct 2). The nursing home that’s also a dorm. City Lab. Retrieved from http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/10/the-nursing-home-thats-also-a-dorm/408424/

Morgenroth, L. and Hanley, Michael. (2015). On Campus and in the Community: How Higher Education Can Inform Seniors Housing Models. Seniors Housing & Care Journal, Volume 23, Number 1, pg 70-75. Retrieved from http://www.gensler.com/uploads/document/425/file/senior-housing-higher-education-models.pdf

Reed, C. (2015, April 5). Dutch nursing home offers rent-free housing to students. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dutch-retirement-home-offers-rent-free-housing-students-one-condition/

Relaxnews. (2014, December 7). Intergeneration’ retirement home sees students live alongside the elderly. CTV News. Retrieved from http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/intergenerational-retirement-home-sees-students-live-alongside-the-elderly-1.2136659