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Questions on the theme, "Combining generations and their projects"

How can relations between retirees and the younger generations be encouraged? Is there a solution in how retirees’ residences are designed? Tell us what you think!

Photo: The Young and the Old, by Tiffani Sineath

Some older people wish to live their old age at home. The project is for them to share their home, when possible, with a younger person.

A contract is drawn up between the host and the guest. There is no talk of money, but rather of "mutual success." Success in a life choice and in ageing on the one hand. Success in a student career, in training, or in a professional life on the other hand.

No rent, but sharing and solidarity to serve two personal projects. I am sure that you know of such initiatives.

I would like to orient this theme with two thoughts:

  1. How can we get architects to anticipate this type of cohabitation? When will there be disposable houses? (building no longer for future generations but for a stage in our life; we are increasingly nomadic)
  2. Given:
    - the individualism of our teenagers (they sometimes prefer to spend time with their iPod than with their grandparents);
    - older persons’ tendency to " avoid" the young, "who upset their daily routines" (Have you ever tried to change the way your mom stores her linen or dishes?) and sometimes go as far as building villages reserved for older people;
    - financial situations that may become more precarious among the more recent retirees;
    - the urbanization tendency, and perhaps other situations,

what might be the best possible direction for housing, intergenerational relations, possible transfers, the right of residence, contract-based private law, etc., for the coming decades?

I am convinced that retirees, the actors primarily involved here, should be true professionals in the thinking and actions that are needed for a courageous and willful response to this type of evolution in society. [1]

Many thanks for your comments.

[1] I am making a distinction between "professional retirees" and retired professionals. The first have built a professional life project (remunerated or not) geared toward a future with other generations for the twenty, thirty years, and more of their retirement before being, perhaps, really old; the second are content with their entitlements. This is not meant as a judgment, it is what I have found in my more than ten years of work as a retiree.

Published on: 4 August 2011
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