Chapter 3 Multi-generational Living as Future of Elderly Housing
3.03 Multi-generational Living In present-day Hong Kong society, in which utilitarian beliefs are deeply rooted, elderly people tend always to be associated with negative images of inefficiency and non-productivity. In fact, the elderly generation should be seen as a human treasure and as precious social capital. The vast majority of them still have a lot to offer to the younger generations after retirement. Hence they should be considered as assets rather than problems to be solved.
Recently, more people around the world have started to rediscover the value of multi-generational living. Especially after the steep economy recession from 2008, adult children who can no longer afford to maintain their own household have had to go back to living with their elderly parents. Multi-generational living benefits all generations, since it enables a sharing of family resources and encourages mutual support.6
Inter-generational activities are also gaining popularity in many countries as a way to re-establish broken links between the young and the old. In Germany and Switzerland, many organizations have already expanded multi-generational living from the scale of domestic household towards schemes of communal size. Many multi-generational housing projects have thus been realized in recent decades. Multigenerational housing has the benefit of being open to all, regardless of age or origin. The young and the old, who were often strangers before, are purposely brought together under the same roof. Families can live in separate units to preserve privacy, but they also actively interact with their neighbours in daily activities and communal events. By setting up frequent dialogues among generations, closer relationships can be cultivated and in the long run induce mutual support.7