Residential Segregation by Age: Pros & Cons of Senior Living Communities

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  • 0:01 Why Age-Segregated…
  • 0:57 Living in a Mixed Community
  • 2:07 Living in an…
  • 3:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christine Serva

Christine has an M.A. in American Studies. She is an instructional designer, educator, and writer with a particular interest in the social sciences and American studies.

This lesson discusses why older adults move to age-segregated communities. We will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this choice and its impact on both younger and older individuals.

Why Age-Segregated Communities?

Why does a person decide to move to a senior living community? While the reasons for moving can depend on the individual, overall, older populations are looking for amenities, such as the option to utilize care that matches their needs as they age and change.

These age-segregated communities are made up of a group of people living in an environment designed for those of a certain age. The types of communities can vary from one housing situation to another. While one community may include active retirees living completely independently, another facility might be designed to provide a great deal of services for medically-involved residents through the end of life.

In this lesson, we'll look at examples of what it might be like living in a typical community of mixed ages versus living in an age-segregated community.

Living in a Mixed Community

Meet Kevin, a 78-year-old man who lives by himself in a house he has owned for most of his life. He lives in a typical non-segregated community. As he ages, he notices that his living situation has both advantages and disadvantages.

On the positive side, Kevin spends time with people of different ages during most days. He plays in the yard with the neighbors' young children. His neighbor helps him with using the Internet when he isn't sure how to search for something online. He knows many of the people in the stores and the community center where he spends his time, including those of all ages.

On occasion, Kevin feels very isolated from others his own age who are going through similar experiences and who have memories of similar past events. Many of his friends are in ill-health and are not as able to spend time with him as they had in the past. At times, this reality is challenging to face, particularly since his future living situation feels uncertain, and if he needs help, he does not always know where to turn.

Living in an Age-Segregated Community

Now meet Joe, who is also 78 and lives in an apartment in a retirement community of people over 65. Every day he participates in activities and shares meals with people close to his own age. They reminisce about life and cultural experiences they have in common.

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