In the same edition of TIME as the article on living alone as “the new norm,” there’s another one that got me thinking about childfree applications. This one is on “niche aging.” Fast forward to your retirement (ok, that might seem far away but from On-the-Ground question responses, many think way ahead about this!) with this idea…
…Developers call it “affinity housing.” They’re also called “niche communities.” It’s a special kind of retirement community where you can “opt to grow old alongside others who share a specific interest.” There’s already about 100 communities like this, and they’re predicted to grow.
If you are an avid country music lover, there might just be a place for you in the country music niche community in Franklin, Tennessee.
There’s another for “Asian Americans who yearn for cultural immersion” called Aegis Gardens in Fremont, California and “was designed under the watch of feng shui consultants and offers tai chi classes.”
“Then there’s Fountaingrove Lodge, the U.S.’s first facility to offer long-term continuing care for gay and lesbian retirees. It broke ground last year in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is already 50% reserved.”
They all offer “everything from standard housing to continuing care, which provides assisted living or skilled nursing to residents as required.” So you get to live around folks with shared interests, likely like minds and the support of traditionally designed retirement communities.
Of the many kind of niche communities, what if there were ones for retirees who never had children by choice? What would they be like?
Well, first there would not be grand-kids showing up to visit! There would be family and friends, however, who would come to visit with kids. So maybe they would have “visiting hours” for these kind of visitors?
My parents have lived in a retirement community so I have seen how they work. There are clubhouses where folks gather for classes and activities. There’s a restaurant. There’s a pool (s). So if it were of the childfree niche, I envision there would be rules about when kids could show up in these areas.
What else? Imagine you are retired and live in a childfree niche community. What would it be like?
I know some people in Asia whose affinity community will be a Buddhist monastical themed “retreat” in a semi rural area. They already own the land and will build soon. These friends are mostly gays or DINKs. The idea of having a like minded community aging together is appealing in many ways.
Seems like creating a childfree niche community is not such a great idea: presence of children is not really such a pressing issue when people have only adult children, who would not visit too often. And childfree is certainly not a hobby or a life interest, it’s a reproductive choice and you can’t really expect childfree people to share their interests the same way country music lovers share theirs.
What I do think would make sense (but is illegal, as far as I can tell) is creating childfree zones or at least, apartment buildings in the cities, where a childfree person/couple could find a place to rent without having to tolerate noisy children.
Point well taken — however, not sure what you mean re only adult children — childfree friends and relatives will have kids, who will have kids, etc that may come to visit. While the choice is not a hobby, there is something to the idea of childfree community — many childfree want more social contact and find it challenging. A community starting with like minds on opting out of parenthood could be a good place to start, from which they’ll find other things in common and shared interests..Just my ponderings. The more interesting question is -If they were created, what would they be like? If you were to set it up how would you do it?
My husband and I are looking at some land in the country with plenty of space around it. This will be our childfree sanctuary. I have hear however that there are some adult only communities in Queensland, however I am yet to find them.
What a great idea! Personally, I would love it if the apartment complex I live in would have designated buildings that were “adults only,” meaning no residents under the age of 18. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and I find it extremely irritating to live with families with babies and toddlers all around us. As everyone knows, babies/toddlers cry at all hours of the day AND night, and it’s annoying that DS (who is now over 18) and I have to be awakened by this noise.
If I could re-configure my community, I would classify one or two buildings in each cluster as I mentioned before, as an “adult” building having no residents under 18. Any current or prospective residents wishing to live in one of the adult buildings would be able to move to one or select one as their chosen place to live. That way, they (and I) wouldn’t have to be awakened at all hours of the night by crying babies or toddlers having tantrums during the day.
I like it–a cf niche community could be set up this way too…there could conceivable be a section where there are no children, not even for visits…or is that going too far?
I don’t know what to make of the fact that in the U.S. you can make a senior living complex that excludes anyone under the age of 55 from living there, and that’s not considered age discrimination. But, you can’t exclude children from living in your building, because that IS age discrimination.
If we can discriminate in housing based on age, then why not any and every age?
Having a childfree community isn’t necessarily a niche or lifestyle or hobby community, just an agreement to abide by that particular rule. You don’t have to have much in common besides wanting an adults-only space. No one says you have to socialize with all the other residents or have anything else in common.