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Considering housing for the boomer generation

Posted: December 1, 2011

In the New York Times’ wonderful piece by Julie Lasky, “On Aging Baby Boomers, and the Question of Where to Live”, architect Wid Chapman and gerontologist Jeffrey P. Rosenfeld discuss their new book. In Unassisted Living: Ageless Homes for Later Life, the co-authors explore the housing desires of baby boomers, beginning with the notion that this generation abhors nursing homes. 

They consider various adaptations to make houses more senior-friendly. Their thinking is exciting and, like the generation they are addressing, the authors push the boundaries of possibilities.

I was left however to wonder about loneliness.  Regardless of how many appropriate design elements are included in a private house, isolation is the inevitable result of living out one’s years in a single-family home. We need housing that is well designed with access to the easy social interaction that is unavailable in single-family homes.

At JCHE, we provide affordable independent senior housing in attractive apartment buildings. While many who previously lived in a house face initial uncertainty about loss of privacy and space, our residents almost universally express gratitude and respond with new vitality to the enhanced quality of life we offer.

The co-authors’ thought-provoking insights demand further attention. As we explore innovative senior-appropriate design, we must consider ways to integrate the irreplaceable component of community.

As always, I welcome your comments!

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Amy Schectman

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