The philosophy of community-centered living brings together important principles of social interaction that not only combat isolation for all ages but can also lead to a paradigm shift in how we care for and interact with each other. This shift can then lead to the elimination of institutional thinking and design.
When we separate our elders, or any age group, we prevent the human connections that need to take place in all our personal journeys. These personal journeys do not end when we move into any type of residential community, from nursing homes to independent housing. Isolation and institutional thinking begin at the front door of any place in which the focus shifts from the community to only those who live inside those doors.
The senior housing industry has an obligation to promote community-centered living because social isolation is unhealthy. Successful community-centered living involves establishing a residential setting that is welcoming to all ages, that encourages autonomy for all ages and that expands the opportunities for the involvement of all ages.
What Does Community-Centered Living Look Like?
To implement community-centered living, it is important to create an environment that is welcoming to all ages. It starts with the elimination of institutional design, a medical model that is structured and hospital-like, leading to deficits in social experiences. It calls for a shift toward generous common space in which the entire community can gather. By bringing all ages together in any residential setting, we can break down social isolation, creating a healthier housing model for all.
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