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Instead of old age homes and orphanages in separate facilities, the combination of both should be built.

There are many old age homes, where many elderly who are well educated and not very sick are living deprived of love and alone. At the same time, there are many orphanages where children dont interact with, or receive love from, elders. We can build homes where elderly people and children can live as small families, take care of one other and be loved.

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    Oct 27 2011: I cannot think of one downside to this very original and at first thought,excellent idea!Of course, the devil is always in the detail; an investigation into the cost effectivness, legal ramifications, health concerns, etc would be time and money well spent, for a solution to this problem of isolation and the resulting devastating effects it has, especially with the elderly because of its growing population.
    At the very least, it would be an excellent topic for a thesis.
    Thanks for sharing!

    PS: RE Brittney...I definately see your point; but death is a part of life and I believe you are not doing children any favors by sheltering them from the inevitability of it. It's quite ironic actually, that kids are exposed to violence practically daily; with TV, video games, street crime, etc; but if it's a grandparent or loved one...suddenly everything goes quiet and the adults and parents in particular, are sometimes adament that their kids NOT go into a viewing, for example. I have seen this many many times in my faith and it never sits right with me...the contradition of it.
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    Nov 22 2011: When I was a kid I realized it is 'fun' to be with my grand parents, but it is amazingly 'inspiring' to spend time with my elder brothers. I saw they are always doing fascinating stuffs, going out to fishing in the river, camping out in an archaeological site with friends, running literary magazines, learning martial arts, I started dreaming of doing all those as soon as I grow up a bit.

    I guess, I would miss those 'inspirations' if I'd only spend time with my grandparents, spending time only listening to stories of their experiences and fairy tales.

    Why not these 'homes' also host young active enthusiastic people too?! Although I don't know who might be those people, from where they would come from!
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    Nov 17 2011: I feel strongly that our North American societies in particular have become so individualistic that we need to reverse that trend for the health and well being of all of our members. It is as though we have packed off our elderly so that we do not have to see their pain and we leave them lonely and frail. We pack off our children into convenient groups to contain their 'mess and noise'. In doing these things we pack off part of our humanity.

    I adore this idea. Yes, we might have to be vigilant. Yes, we might have to continue to have care givers but we have them anyway and they too are somehow broken by being only with one sort of need day in and day out. I love this idea for its wholeness, its compassion and its vision for a better more integrated and humane future. While we are at it why not include schools and teachers too!
  • Nov 15 2011: A really good idea. I'm working at the Bremer Heimstiftung. We have 26 Old Age Homes in the city Bremen / Germany. We have not exactly the combination of old-age homes and orphanages, but in many of our houses Kindergartens have their premises. In one house also we have a cooperation with a elementary school. There are not only the classrooms located in the retirement home, there the old and the young eat together in the same "cafeteria", too.

    Many of our homes are "neighborhood-houses" with many generations living under one roof.

    These are really good and fruitful cooperation where both sides have much to learn from each other and win.
    Maybe that's something that goes in your direction?

    I don't know if it's allowd to post a company link, but if you are interested you can google "bremer heimstiftung".

    Greetings fron Germany

    Andre Conin
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      Nov 15 2011: Andre! It is so exciting to know that people are working to find creative, humane and loving solutions that fit many more people. I wish you great success in your work! Thanks for sharing your first hand and practice experience.
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      Nov 21 2011: This is even more like the 'extended family' of old - each generation/group has their own space but with regular social interaction, shared responsibilities and education exchange - both formal and informal. A great example of 'what works'.
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    Nov 1 2011: This is such a lovely idea. I also like the inclusion of pets.

    I saw a special on Public Television years ago about animals in nursing homes. The Eden Alternative is a network of nursing care facilities that endorses just such a model:

    "An Elder-centered community commits to creating a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals, and children. It is these relationships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living."

    Important health benefits for elders living with animals (under 'Therapy dogs):

    " a 2005 study by the American Heart Association of hospitalized heart failure patients, researchers found that a 12-minute visit with a therapy dog reduced blood pressure and levels of stress hormones, and eased anxiety. Therapy dogs have been shown to improve the focus and memory of patients with Alzheimer’s, encourage speech and simple physical activities among stroke victims and individuals with impaired mobility."

    I also love the idea of prison inmates working with dogs! Here is some info, plus a list of programs in swing:

    My favorite: New Yorks' 'Puppies behind bars' :)
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    Nov 1 2011: .
    Deepthi, this is a very interesting idea indeed.

    I've teased my brain on it for a day, and I can't really find any economic, social, psychological or cultural objections; only advantages.

    As an anthropologist I can also confirm what Debra Durham says: in a great many cultures, grand-parents (grandmothers) have a very important role in the rearing of children. So there are ample precedents.

    You should discuss this idea briefly with "experts" (from geriatrics, pediatrics, psychology, health, etc....) to see what they think on a practical level. And after that, perhaps, just take all of your courage and set up a trial.
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    Oct 29 2011: I think this is a wonderful idea. The only caveat would be making sure the children were protected. Also, dogs and cats should be introduced into the mix!
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    Oct 26 2011: One more thought . . . an animal shelter would fit in nicely as well.
  • Oct 25 2011: love the idea, but I think it is important to have what you may call "middle aged people", the staff trained to filter and distribute the energies, the high energy level of the kids ant the lower energy level of older people, so that all may live a better life and not be too strained, many older people have already raised children and may be in need of quiet time and young kids may be overly energetic and need to be with people with which they can every now and then go "crazy' play ball, scream, dance etc, otherwise I think this is a very good idea, it is actually a very old idea, the tribal structure!!!!!!
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      Nov 1 2011: Indeed, there needs to be some "energy" management. Else, both groups might drive each other crazy.
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    Oct 24 2011: I posted your idea on my personal Facebook page, and friends are very enthusiastic about it. More than most ideas worth spreading. It seems to strike a deep chord with people, and immediately beg the question, why didn't they think of it before - or why hasn't someone done it already? I wonder why that is. What, in your opinions, are the limitations and challenges from an administrative perspective?

    It seems facilities would require some separation, at least with certain populations. However, the opportunities for outings, group activities - such as games, tutoring/homework help, holidays and seasonal celebrations, meals, etc. What are other opportunities for the daily blending of these two worthy groups of people?
    • Oct 26 2011: hi Linda
      thank you for your response

      i dont see why the seperation is needed unless otherwise the elderly are ill and very weak.
      i actually want a couple of elders and a couple of kids to live as a family , and not just spend some time together in some group activities. offcouse all such families can have some group activities together.
  • Oct 24 2011: Deepthi - Hugely agree with you! I think society is suffering from the decrease in multi-generational relationships.

    I've often suggested combining elderly care, childcare and pet care (though, obviously that starts to get more complicated). I love the idea of elderly care and orphanages! What a great value in the relationships that could be build in that setting. Definitely an idea worth spreading!
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      Oct 24 2011: Jennifer,
      I love the idea of including other animals in the care scheme proposed above. Do you envision this as an additional link to shelters where animals are in need of longer term care analogous to the residency model described by Deepthi above? It sounds like a great opportunity to foster compassion and moral imagination. I hope to hear more.
  • Nov 22 2011: Hi and Hello!
    I have read the posts and the comments. (again) It is a really wonderful answer.
    Think about it! We have old humans and young humans.
    No one wants them, right?
    Debate that. With Respect! :)
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    Nov 21 2011: We used to have something just like this - it was called an extended family!
  • Nov 20 2011: I agree that we shouldn 't have old age homes nor orphanages, that people should be living with their family or provided with one, in a small group with enough diversity, surrounded by real caring people instead of being a project handled by the laws of economics. It 's a good idea to mix such groups of lonely outcasts, to bring more joy and meaning into their lifes. Love and care is to rare a thing and as old or as young as people are, they need to feel usefull and meaningfull, be able to care and really cared for. It certainly is an original idea that goes in the right direction and hopefully inspires more of that!
    • Nov 22 2011: Hi Ellasbeth, ( with respect) Humans are not outcasts. Have you ever worked, in a nursing home?
      • Nov 22 2011: I agree with both ideals here - although I think it's important NOT to impose labels upon groups of people (a smart TEDster reminded me of that in a recent conversation, and it applies to this topic as well) The term "outcasts" has such a negative vibe - but I think in this case, Elisabeth's use is simply about being descriptive... maybe not the best word used to describe people in these circumstances, but the rest of her post was meaningful and hopeful. That deserves to be noted. I hear in Tishe's comment true empathy and a sense of protectiveness for the older generations - what a wonderful sentiment, especially from a young person.
        Yet, older people often do feel that way - as though they have being outcasted (to use the word in verb form) Both Tishe and Elisabeth show such compassion for these people - as do all of the people contributing to this topic. I think we are seeing how very valuable this particular conversation is - because no matter whether people think the idea proposed will work or not - everyone sees the merit of actually getting involved and trying to find the right solution, or combination of them.
        I think the idea itself is unique and has worth. My cautious approach to the idea is based upon the fact that the problem, like people, is complex. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying, and most importantly, do whatever we can to be helpful in the present time. These groups won't wait for us to find the perfect answer. The real-time help and involvement given now goes a long way to contributing to a solution.
  • Nov 15 2011: Hi deepthi,

    I had discussed this with some people a few months back and I got a range of opinions. There is a chance that old people might not want to be with the kids and might prefer to be alone.The kids might be seen as a disturbance if they spend more than a certain amount of time with them(Few hours is ok but living together ?). Diseases could spread easily from the kids to the old people and vice versa unless proper care is taken . .Success of this model would also depend on how much love the old people could shower on the kids.Wouldn't it be better to have trained caregivers take care of the kids and the old people.Also we need to ensure that kids are not harassed (physically,mentally and sexually) as I know some old people are not good and are outright bad..Who will ensure that ?

    I would really like this idea to work .It would be great if it works but I think it can work only under certain conditions.I have spent quality time in orphanages and some time in old age homes.I really believe that it would be beneficial for both the kids and the old people to spend sometime together (say in the evening for an hour or so) under supervision and the rest of the time ,the kids should be under trained caregivers..I think this would be make both groups happy. If the old people are physically and mentally ready and capable of bringing up kids with love and affection,then they could live with them and it should be actively encouraged.But proper assessment has to be made by competent people before this is allowed.

    I would like to see some real situation where this has been tried.

    It is a really good idea and if we can find ways to make it work ,this could bring joy and happiness into a lot of lives

    With best wishes,
    • Nov 21 2011: they can live together without being in the same building. one side of campus is old other young in the middle is where they meet, the commons area
  • Nov 11 2011: gr8 idea !! m in final year of architecture and m planning to do mah thesis on same topic i.e. "self-sustainable campus for oldage and orphanage " m searching proper site for it .. plz let me know if an1 can help me out ..
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      Nov 14 2011: Urvi- what a wonderful practical offer! Good luck with your MA Thesis. At least you have a really revolutionary idea to work with!
      • Nov 18 2011: Debra Smith : Thanks a lot :)
        but can u suggest me any case studies in India ( if u know ) and any innovative ideas which can be implemented in this campus ?
  • Susan R

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    Nov 10 2011: Safety, attachment, and dignity issues aside, I'd think carefully about whether a new orphanage is ideal at all. I agree that the connection to elders can be an excellent experience for any child (just as I'm sure the reverse is true), but connections with people within an institution are insufficient to create the necessary community connections children need to survive once they leave. A healthier idea would be community based with strong interaction between the children and elders in community care - and the cost would be 1/4 to 1/8 of the costs of running an institution. Small scale, well monitored and staffed community care models facilitate far greater development and, importantly, long-term outcomes for the children once they inevitably become adults.
  • Nov 3 2011: Wow, I never thought of this as of a possible solution, but it is an idea worth discussing!

    The co-existence of the elder and the young sure has its avantages -- kids can learn a lot, not only informational but personal as well. They can learn not only to be self-sufficient, but also to take care for others. On the other hand, the elder will not feel so isolated and useless when surrounded by kids and teens full of energy.

    However, some serious problems may arise.
    One, orphans and sick elders each need special environment and care, both very specific and different. To imagine a complex big and versatile enough to suit and fulfil the needs of both of these groups, not to forget the specialized personnel.
    Two, age difference often causes problems even among families, so I can easily imagine what problems and arguments it would potentionally cause in a place with high concentration of the elder and the young that have no blood-relation. Teens especially tend to be rebellious and noisy, and elder people need peace and rest.

    In spite of all the complications that are likely to occur, this idea is very likable, and if I could once witness such cooperation, I would be very pleased :)
    Thumbs up for you!
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    Nov 1 2011: This is a wonderful, inclusive, loving, hopeful idea. There was a study in Romania (I think) where they allowed mentally challenged young women to tend to abandoned babies in orphanages and the outcome clearly indicated that the babies did far better in the long run. The young women also had a great sense of contribution. We can do better by many many members of our societies who are suffering in isolation and loneliness. Thanks for this idea and for posting it on TED.
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    Oct 29 2011: Brilliant, practical and extremely humanistic. Hope someone in this field reads this idea and decides to implement it wherever and gives feedback. Wishful thinking!
  • Oct 28 2011: Hi and With Respect to You!
    Wonderful pipe dream! I really do love it. I have worked in nursing homes. It is exactly what this world needs. I always ask the "bad" question, whom is going to pay for it? It could be done, if the combined resources, stopped thinking about money. With that being said, still a pipe dream. I do love to dream! deepthl, I know in America, we cannot afford to do crap. How would India handle it? Actually, we really do not have the money to build. There are sooo many capable buildings, already there! Just sitting there, empty. I think your idea is beautimous!! (does all that make sense?)
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    Oct 28 2011: Must say, this is quite a remarkable idea that I think could work. Would work as a double edged sword to eliminating youth disrepect to elders and the oft forgotten opposite. It saddens me when walking at dusk or at night when an elderly woman sees me walking down the street and crosses the road the moment she sees me.
    As mentioned below, the only possible downside is the effect that constant death could have on the kids. Who knows, it could also have the adverse effect and make children grow up less effected by death and better equipped to come to grips with the idea themselves.
    I would lean towards endorsing this idea; it not only provides both parties with company in a situation which is often a lonely one, but it would also provide a sense of family (again to both groups) which may have been lost. Also would continue that beautiful cycle of wisdom from old to young and back again. I am hardly that old myself but have been struck dumb before being taught a lesson by someone a third of my age.
    • Nov 23 2011: Hi Rowan,
      That saddens me too. ( i have done it) I know the people in my area. There are old people, abused children, they all cross the "road".. However, there are so many wonderful human beings out there! You are one OF them! Humans will always be labeled. Sad fact of human kind. Nursing homes and children's homes together, should be the idea of the future. Let's face facts. Senior citizens and unwanted children, are here to stay. It would create a stable life for children and a safe haven, for Senior's, that do not want to be alone. (does that make sense?)
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    Oct 24 2011: Multi-generational communities of all sorts can have positive effects for those involved and society as a whole. This is a great idea.
    We know that communities of varied ages are important. For example, anthropological studies have shown just how important grandmothers have been in deep human history. But it doesn't stop with human animals. Among elephants, research has shown that the lack of elders due to poaching has had terrible implications for well-being, aggression and survival.
    As we find ourselves in a more mobile, global society, we can look for new ways to create multi-generational communities. Shared care facilities as you have proposed are one great option. In areas where orphanages are uncommon because of distributed care systems (e.g. fostering) or where care support from other age groups would be of benefit or be necessary because of health or other limitations, I wonder what other models might be possible?

    Thanks for this great ideas!
    • Oct 26 2011: hi Debra, I would like to talk about the case where health is a limitation.we can classify these health issues into two: 1)contageous 2) other sickness/illness which are not harmful but need some "attending to"i'm talking about the second case here.attending to elders may be too taxing and burdenful sometimes.but if these elders are grouped with teenagers who are fit and these children can share the "attending to" work with each other in such a way that its not tasking for a single child, then it would be finein this way they would also learn to give and care for others. there might also be other healthy elder people who might help.but having said so, they should have so much love in themselves to share and care.
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    Oct 24 2011: Awesome Idea - I'm going to start thinking about how that could look in implementation -
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    Oct 24 2011: The only theoretical downside is the inevitability of the elders dying and that having a devastating effect on the already fragile orphans.
    • Oct 26 2011: hi Brittney, this is a valid point.i would like to improve my idea. Lets say, we have an elderly couple and some kids as a family.....but there are many such families in our they can reach out to one other in cases like this.let me give you an example(this might not be a good one but still): we have pets, mostly dogs, their life expectency is around 10-15 years............and kids get too attached to them, and when their pets die they get devasted... but if we plant the idea of life and death in children from their early childhood, they could be able to face the idea of death better than many elders would......please share your views on this
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    Oct 23 2011: What a great idea.

    My house has 4 generations in it and it is wonderful. My 8 year old daughter knows that she is going to see her 94 year old great-grandmother die but she also knows that her great-grandmother dotes on her every word and will do anything for her. That kind of relationship is invaluable. I know that my grandmother will die with the knowledge that she has raised 3 great children, 4 great grandchildren and 3 great great-grandchildren.

    There is no better medicine for the elderly than that. If I outlive my kids, I would gladly move into an orphanage to be surrounded by kids and the joy they bring.
    • Oct 26 2011: thank you valerie for sharing your experience and for expressing your willingmess to share your love.
  • Nov 22 2011: At the heart of this topic is:
    Two generations of people find themselves without their own family. It can be said that both groups deserve love, respect and compassion, despite their compromised circumstances This is true for all people certainly - but often those in need are met with a feeling from the general public they are somehow "lucky" to get whatever help is bestowed upon them. At the base of equality is equity. Accidents of fate do not take away that basic human right.
    It's important to evaluate whether or not we are solving a problem, or in fact, addressing an injustice.
    I believe societal change and practical measures, conducted in tangent, are required to end isolation, sub-standard care and the inhumanity of segregating any group of people. I do not believe either orphanages or old age homes were ever ok. I think they were easier than finding a real solution - case by case.
    We are talking about individuals here. To further separate them from the general population, because of the isolation WE bestowed upon them - just isn't right.
    Society created the problem and to somehow believe we are helping the unfortunate is demeaning.
    Every single human involved in isolated, group care suffers an injustice - perhaps brought on by fate, but enforced by the only people who could actually solve it. Us.
    This is OUR wrong, our responsibility - when we address it in a manner that makes unique individuals somehow a nameless, faceless group - described by two characteristics, in this case: age and orphaned - its outrageous.
    I don't have the answer - that is true. But I do see the entire topic as being made up of one-of-a-kind, valuable, human beings. Not groups.
    I applaud the intention. No single person can solve this. It took a so called "village" to create it, it will take one to solve it. Ask yourselves, how can I help right now. A good place to get educated & get involved TODAY is
  • Nov 22 2011: This suggestion reminds me of another I have heard along a similar line: that homes for the aged be built near to schools. This would make it easy for children of school age to visit their elderly relatives, and perhaps even for their parents to do so.
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    Nov 21 2011: This is a great idea!
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    Nov 21 2011: great idea !
    I think it could be better if these homes are in small towns ...
    And a problem :
    did you think about negative influence of olders ?
    Maybe these kids become standoffish ...
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    Nov 21 2011: Hi Deepthi, its a fantastic idea! The combination of old age homes and orphanages will connect the "experience" of old age with the "youthfulness" of children. Imagine the possibilities if children could learn hands on from elders and then go to society; not secluded but empowered. Also, the elders would feel a sense of contribution to young children's lives instead of just rebuke and loathing.

    But, in order to implement such a plan; how to ensure that there indeed is a warm environment for everyone to learn and love? Will there be a selection to such a home or are everyone welcomed?
  • Nov 18 2011: Yes my understanding is native. And I very much believe that there are possibilities.
  • Nov 18 2011: A group home with a forced family, facilitated by caregivers, who change from time to time? (or a lot?)

    I think before you get behind this idea, you might put yourself INTO their place first.

    Be 3 yrs old, suddenly surrounded by people you didn't know well, who seemed to very young YOU, very old, and who were sick - a lot or a little... you could never count on anyone totally. Caregivers coming and going. Can you trust and love someone just because they are your housemate? Do you feel safe? Secure?

    Be 75 yrs old - No family left. You have good days, and bad days due to arthritis. On bad days, everything hurts and you need help. You can't do much or move fast. How do you choose between raising young children, while you are often in great pain or being alone because you can't "contribute" as much as is required to "qualify" for placement in one of these new family formations?

    This isn't an answer - it's an ultimatum.
    There are so many possibilities for abuse, neglect, tragic error.

    Folks - someday you will be old. What would YOU want?
    Someday YOUR grandchild could be orphaned due to unpreventable tragedy.
    What would you want FOR them?

    The answer is adoption.

    At any age - whether formally in regard to children, or informally by establishing a relationship with an elderly person that is meaningful and consistent, even co-habitational. To value human life is to see the individual as worthy of our own time, love and efforts... regardless of age, health or status. To embrace them as they are, not for what they know or can give. To bring them home & call them family. To stand by them - care for them, ourselves.

    Never confuse an individuals life circumstances as having anything at all to do with their value. They deserve the best possible life - and future. Just like you.
    • Nov 21 2011: " A group home with a forced family, facilitated by caregivers, who change from time to time? (or a lot?) "
      if your worried about consistentsy(sp?), then the elder folk would be there even if the care givers aren't.
      you say adoption, thats already an option, its not working quick enough (who have you adopted?)
      trust? please! they would still be in a weird and new enviroment anyway, its been proven that the very young and very old get along better than any other age group (perhaps because of the similarities(sp?))
      at least together they would be with each other more often, they would feel less isolated, more variety in people. my question would this effect the childrens' mental health if an elder dies? granted a child could die just as easily and we shouldn't not do it just cause of one problem. sorry bout my spelling and the double negative, but you clearly don't understand lonelyness, thou its good your looking for the kinks
      • Nov 22 2011: Who did I adopt? I haven't legally adopted - that is true. I so wish I could. Without getting too personal - I'm hopeful, working toward a future that would allow me to do so. My daughters are thrilled with the potential of expanding our small family. Thanks for asking.

        This conversation identifies the need to address similar problems which exist in two distinct groups; the orphaned young & the orphaned old. Putting them together in a "family habitat" addresses only the issue of being alone, not loneliness. There is no guarantee of relationship building here. Other problems, similar or not between the two, aren't solved even if the issue of loneliness is solved - yet that seems to be assumed. To knowingly pass along existing problems you referred to because "that's just the way it is now anyway" - is unethical & plainly irresponsible. To be a person in need doesn't mean sub-standard care is acceptable.
        You refer to people in the middle [health care workers by broad term], as already being in place. To staff this proposed intergenerational home, your "already in place" caregiver must now work with multiples in both age groups, at the same time. Additional co-workers coming/going: maintenance, cooks, laundry, administration, medical. OR the "already in place" caregiver attends only to one age group at a time, just like now. Therefore the "home" must accomodate twice the staff in a single smaller setting. Are you thinking a single caregiver would do EVERYTHING themselves? That is NOT the current job description of typical staff in place now. Yet that is almost EXACTLY what a Parent/Family caregiver does. For all the right reasons too. Which is why I think there are answers to the problem via the broader or even global community, in adoption.

        Building a campus, meeting in the middle - maybe. I'd begin with visits consistently, without changing addresses. Establish viability & determine controls. The solution even as you describe, is complex.
  • Nov 16 2011: Idea sound nice.
    But not good to practice. They should live separately and meet at one place. I don't think elder people can resist there anger for long, they are filled with pain and kids are like white paper they are just growing. Educated and healthy dose not mean they can care properly.
    A good orphanage are having good people who can and do love and care kids. There are many people who love others like there own. Give them employment.
    Your idea is a by product of emotion.
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      Nov 17 2011: Issac - I think both your understanding of the elderly and your understanding of the needs of young children are naive.

      You seem to be unable to visualize how the worth of elderly people could be tapped into for the benefit of child rearing and also seem to have something of a disregard for the dignity of elderly.

      I just think you are failing to see the possibilities.
    • Nov 21 2011: they can live in a campus enviroment, one side old, one side young, certain times of the day they meet at the center and play(basicly) , i would suggest activities like anywhere else. i would however seperate them from each other during meal time for more than one health/annoyance reason
  • Nov 15 2011: This is a lovely, heartfelt thought.
    It is also one that cannot work.
    Children would become mini-caregivers. That is not ok.
    Adults who aren't fit cannot be adequate caregivers - I'm so sorry - but that is the truth.
    This idea works best for those of us in the middle only - and it feels a little like we're forcing two groups of people who need able and committed caregivers, upon one another.
    What's more - adoption gives a child a family and an extended family. Your option results in the loss, again, of "parents." That is too bleak, too much to loose for those so young. Kids must be able to BE kids. Adults who aren't "very sick" are still sick - and though they may very much want to care for a new family of kids, without 3rd party, & daily intervention, this would fail.
    (I have cared for both groups, consistently, for years and years. I was extremely close to my own Grandmother & currently help to care for my Dad, who is 76, while raising 2 daughters)
    But - fostering relationships, living in community - separately, but close by. I can see that working and flourishing. WITH caregivers - people whose job it is to maintain proper, age appropriate care - at both stages of life.
    I applaud your desire to help, and to love. Inter-generational relationships are valuable, amazing - and vital components to being a well rounded person, to be sure. But the elderly can give without being worked. The young should not be forced into roles that compromise potential adoptions or to become older than they have already had to. Babies and infants require love, touch, contact - they also require care, feeding, changing, playing, watching over, keeping up with - notice of potential illness, the ability to keep them safe from household dangers (stairs, heat, etc)
    A sort of sick person can get very sick, very fast. There is much potential for disaster.
    But again - the idea of working with the young and old - bringing them together - love it. They'll need our help to do it. Count me in
    • Nov 21 2011: they aren't gonna stick em in the pasture and say "go for it" there will be "middle people" involved as much as they are now. why does everyone think that this can't work. most cultures old and young live together with the so-called middle people works just fine and they live in the same home. a campus setting is much more reasonable........ i mean i love my family, but i dont care to see them all the time, i live with them
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    Nov 14 2011: Good idea!
  • Nov 14 2011: Wow, what a wonderful idea. The social implications of which could be tricky, but also revolutionary. There seems to be increasing disconnects between generations, so the timing would be interesting, to say the least.
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    Nov 14 2011: Bravo!
  • Nov 13 2011: YOur idea is wonderful and what would be helpful to have a brief list of "case studies' oor 'success models' now existing that can be adopted on a community level that is a "good fit" to a particular country's culture and wealth particularly. What's good for USA is not necessarily good for India. There are vast differences in culture and value priority in both nations. Here in USA, I have seen one model, in the private sector, that appears to work well , a variation of what you are suggesting. Here is the example. There is successful company with a chain of apartments spcially catered to elderly here. I have some friends who have sold their single family home and moved to such appartments when they can no longer wish or able to care for their lawns and other chores of owning a single famiily. These apartments have dining facilities that's part of the rent. Next to some of these "Elderly Apartments', "Kindergarden" facility have sprung up, allowing some of those who live in the aprtment to volunteer their time to the kindergarten facility that benefits both the kids, the kids facilities and provides value for the elderly as they so choose.
  • Nov 11 2011: Great Idea !

    In my view such a venue with co inhabitation of elderly and youngs can be either hell or heaven on earth.
    What I can foresee that It would require a lot of intermediatory counselling effort for the two to live together to bridge the generation gap and both of these communities should be looked after independently without any dependencies among themselves.

    LOVE just happens and it is one way devotion, it cannot be introduced.
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    Nov 10 2011: Hi Deepthi - this is an excellent idea. I am sure it will not only benefit the children and the elderly, but it will also greatly benefit the entire society. Thanks for posting it.
  • Nov 9 2011: Excellent idea.....I would suggest you pose another question. Given this makes sense how can one effect this change and what are the pro's and cons. Bear in mind there can be negatives that many will pose despite the fact there is greater good. You may also want to pursue this at other levels.....the media, politicians, etc. It may be an easier "sell" than you imagine since there is potentially a cost reduction and health benefit. Posing the additional question will equip you to address issues and potentially pose a more complete argument.
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    Nov 7 2011: This is a great idea. In many tribal cultures, the children hang out with and are raised by the elders.

    In our society we have young adults (who are in many ways still children themselves) raising children.

    I don't foresee people abandoning the nuclear family concept in favor of tribal models, but at the very least the orphans and the elderly could benefit from the interaction you propose.

    It would probably work best if they had two facilities in one location, so the populations were not constantly intertwined, but rather had regular contact and some mutual recreation and leisure areas.

    Also, it would work best with children under a certain age. Teens and the elderly might be an unfortunate combination.

    Lastly, people of extremely poor health or comprimised immune systems should probably not be exposed to youthful pathogen carriers.

    All things considered, it could prove to be very beneficial and a very efficient system. Overcoming the loneliness of the elderly and the lack of wise role models for orphans in one fell swoop.
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    Nov 3 2011: This is a good idea because it will benefit both parties.

    For elders, it will give them the joy of raising children once again. Often, grandparents love their grandchildren more than the actual parents because the grandparents miss the times in their lives when they were raising children.

    For children, it will give them the wisest of mentors to learn from. Furthermore, children will learn the pain of loss from an early age, which is very important for maturity.
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    Oct 30 2011: With the correct matching of individuals, this would be an excellent system. Great potential for getting it wrong though. Some trials would be a good idea.

  • Oct 29 2011: Have you ever been in a retirement home for more than 10 min?
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    Oct 25 2011: This is an amazing idea.

    I know many old age homes are privately owned. I think most orphanages are government facilities , although I'm not 100% sure of that.

    I think there is a lot of money to be made off this idea in addition to helping a lot of people
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    Oct 25 2011: What a fantastic idea. I think in many respects these children would be better raised than half the kids who have young parents. This would also add a great deal of meaning to the lives of the older people, not to mention joy.
  • Oct 25 2011: I agree that this is a lovely concept - those of us who have benefited from the care and wisdom of elder relatives can appreciate the different perspectives they provide to youngsters. I know my grandparents left lasting impressions - so I' very happy to see that same bond building between my young son and my mother who lives with us.
    The pressures of modern life are forcing some families to revisit the extended families sharing a home, the joys and benefits often outweigh the restrictions. Why not take these life lessons and apply them to social welfare situations for the general good.
    Obviously there would have to be protective concepts applied for the good of all, but it's worth a try.
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    Oct 24 2011: I really like your idea, it speaks for it's self! Brilliant! ;)
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    Oct 24 2011: what a beuatiful vision

    may it be so
    first somewhere

    then everywhere
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    Oct 24 2011: Really good idea
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    Oct 24 2011: Let's please throw in a daycare and perhaps a school for good measure.
    • Oct 26 2011: thanks Micheal
    • Nov 14 2011: Awesome idea! Who will pay for it? We will have to do back ground checks on the teachers, day care providers, etc.,. I love this idea! There are, obviously quite a few, in agreement.
      I have worked in Nursing Homes. It is a perfect solution. Soo, now, we debate, it is a, question , OR come to a reality, ain't happening. Come on people! The world governments, are kinda, sleeping. :(
  • Oct 24 2011: That is a wonderful idea. Both populations have been so marginalized in our country. Our elders have so much to offer and we as a society brush them aside as burdens. This is a wonderful was to provide both groups with purpose and support.
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    Oct 23 2011: If there were an arrangement like this in my community, when my time came, I might actually go. Might.

    Great idea!
    • Oct 26 2011: hi lynn.
      thank you for the response.
      but i would like to say that this is for people who dont have their own to take care of them.........
      but it would always be gr8 if u want to share ur love with other needy
  • Oct 23 2011: I think this is a wonderful idea.
    ingenious actually =)

    This solves two problems at once.

    There are already a number of places that already implemented this idea.
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      Oct 24 2011: Albert,
      I'd love to learn more about places that have put this idea into action. Would you please share links or info so we might see some examples? Many thanks in advance for your help.
      • Oct 24 2011: well, its a pretty new concept i think. I did a quick search online.
        Here is the big one in Erbil. (I believe it also is a school)

        This one put them together, but physically separating them:

        I also know that a many villages (in china for sure, but i think its likely in other places too) which group orphans with the seniors under a few houses. These places were what I was thinking about when I made the statement. I suppose clinically they aren't orphanage/senior centers, but I think the idea applies.

        I genuinely think this is a great idea.
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          Oct 24 2011: Thanks so much for sharing these examples, Albert.