The pros and cons of age segregation

SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2006

Two million or about 6 percent of the U.S. elderly reside in communities and housing that have been designed especially for their occupancy. Age-segregated housing holds many advantages for the elderly. One of the most obvious advantages is the things this age group have in common. Older people can relate to and sympathize with other older people’s problems. Since the people are in the same age group they were born and raised at similar times and share a common history. The elderly can also decrease their involvement with a society that is preoccupied with the desirability of youth. Older people can “talk out” their fears of death and confront the frequent deaths of others. Most of the retirement villages are heavily secured. This offers the older person a sense of safety and protection. The older person is more likely to be noticed in an age segregated community if he or she is in need of help. The elderly people living in such a community also receive lower rates because of the quantity of similar goods and services needed by their communities. Some of the disadvantages of age-segregated housing are isolation from mainstream society, preventing older people from sharing wisdom and experiences with younger people and leading old people to have restricted sets of friendships and neighbors. In some elderly people age-segregated housing can contribute to low morale and feelings of uselessness and rejection.
See RESIDENTIAL CHOICE AND DESIGN FOR THE ELDERLY.
Golant, S. M. “Age-Segregated Housing,” in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 86. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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