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Supporting Our Elders While Nurturing a New Generation

The lives of our youth and elders couldn’t be more different; however there is something to be gained from each other. According to PBS, approximately 15% of senior Americans live below the poverty line and struggle with affordable housing, and one “intentional inter-generational community” in Oregon has found a way to aid seniors while also supporting foster children.

Bridge Meadows housing development has 27 apartments that they offer to low-income seniors for reduced rates in exchange for 10 hours a week spent with an adoptive family in the neighborhood, adding up to over 10,00 hours of service a year among the seniors. This gives adoptive parents the additional support that they may need on the journey to give their foster care children a permanent home through adoption.

While it’s not for everyone, the families living in the community both young and old alike have thrived in this supportive environment. The “Elders” as the families call them, drive the kids to school, babysit, and give lessons, whatever is needed. Many of the elders are finding activities such leading story time to be quite comforting, providing mental stimulation as well as creating a much needed sense of purpose.

“We’re flourishing and evolving in this environment, and we’re growing big time,” says elder and Bridge Meadows resident in a recent NewsHour article, “If you go to live in an apartment complex with a bunch of older people, for instance, people kind of wither away, and it’s really not right. Connections across the generations is critical, absolutely critical for aging well.”

There is also community gathering each week and counselors on hand to help cope with caring for foster children, who can often have troubled pasts. Bridge Meadows is hoping to expand further with a new development across the street by next year and to other communities across America in the near future. What do you think of this unique living experience?

Via: PBS

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