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House too Big? Share!

House too Big? Share!

American is becoming an increasingly age-segregated society. This isn't healthy for any of us.

In his book How Old Are You?, historian Howard Chudacoff reveals that age was not a part of daily life for most of the 19th century. Chudacoff says, “The country’s institutions were not structured according to age-defined divisions, and its cultural norms did not strongly prescribe age-related behavior.” (Birthdays were rarely celebrated or noticed). Chudacoff writes that our obsessive age consciousness developed gradually." Things began changing as our culture went from primarily rural and agriculture-based to urban and manufacturing-based. Children were no longer going to one room school houses, where all ages had been educated together. Young people weren't helping work the family farm. Now we were making distinctions that had never before been made. In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. It fixed minimum ages of 16 for work during school hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work. 

After World War II, as more and more families moved to the suburbs, age distinctions became more clearly defined. Each stage from childhood to old age was designated with a start and end date. And schools and other institutions kept education and socializing separately for each group. 

“I think we’re in the midst of a dangerous experiment,” Cornell University professor Karl Pillemer told The Huffington Post. “This is the most age-segregated society that’s ever been. Vast numbers of younger people are likely to live into their 90s without contact with older people. As a result, young people’s view of aging is highly unrealistic and absurd.”

Beyond, our family and close friends, we have become wary of people that aren't in our age group. And we are all the poorer for it!

A generation after the introduction of retirement communities like Sun City, people are realizing that this kind of community is not for them. New ideas are popping up like  Nesterly  "a trusted service for intergenerational home sharing." Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Mark Freedman and Trent Stamp, say: "

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