Generational Wisdom

Recently I learned of a story of PBS Newshour about a housing community in Oregon where families who adopt foster children live side by side with seniors who volunteer their time in exchange for affordable rent. With 15% of seniors living below the poverty line, this story of a solution to senior housing and creating a stable environment for children was particularly inspiring.

One of the benefits that emerged from the situation was the way in which foster parents, children, and seniors from different generations interacted and shared their experiences with one another. The children and young refreshed the seniors’ worldview, while the seniors had a lot of perspective to share with the parents and the children.

We all know there are major housing challenges in the future. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, there are empty nest issues and home safety challenges. But this isn’t only about ways to care for the aging… it’s about the vast resources of experience and wisdom each generation has to share with one another.

In helping clients buy and sell homes, it’s easy to see the biases and behaviors of a wide range of generations. From Boomers downsizing who feel their home has “enough curb appeal, thank you” to the Millennials who share Instagram photos of properties seeking friends’ comments, there’s a lot to learn. Conversely, some young buyers don’t understand a 30-year mortgage, while many a gray head can school you on 11% interest rates.

There’s the wisdom of now, the wisdom of then, and the wisdom of way-back-when. Our neighborhoods and communities can be even stronger if we keep this in mind. Who teaches you every day? Who do you teach?

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