Panelists Address Intergenerational Projects and Concerns
By Kwantisa Harris
The City of Tallahassee in conjunction with Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College hosted the Sustainability and You Community Learning Series fall learning session Oct. 29 at the Tallahassee Senior Center.
The panel discussion titled “Creating a Thriving Intergenerational Community: Live, Work and Play Across Generations” covered specific topics for Tallahassee’s diverse population centralized around the ‘quality of life.’
Such topics included programmatic needs for young children and senior citizens and accessibility resources provided by the city, senior housing and retaining young professionals and entrepreneurs.
And over the last 10 years, Tallahassee has transformed into a small, yet thriving metro catering to its growing student and young professionals demographic.
Projects like Cascades Park, Gaines Street and the FAMU Way and Lake Bradford extension are just a few examples of what the evolving Tallahassee has to offer.
Student housing and young professionals complexes have also been constructed to satisfy Tallahassee’s growing student demographic.
But on the flip side of the coin, mature residents of Tallahassee feel somewhat left out.
During the Q&A portion, one woman expressed that there’s a lack of retiree housing in Tallahassee.
Dr. Rebecca Miles, Professor at FSU’s Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning expressed her empathy sharing the same concerns.
“My Husband and I are looking at our aging processes and think how can we stay in this community we love?” said Miles.
Miles was the first panelist of the evening to discuss solutions that will improve the intergenerational community in Tallahassee.
Addressing the lack of housing for seniors and retirees alike, one example Miles gave was a ‘granny flat,’ described as a unit built on top of an existing single-family unit.
“Older people love the vitality of the younger generation,” said Miles.
Based on Miles’ research, these communities will encourage conducive, intergenerational living between the young and old.
Another panelist Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith, professor at FSU’s College of Medicine discussed the vitality of life among ‘baby boomers,’ addressing the more ‘mature’ demographic.
Brummel-Smith began with an anecdote about a woman who rode her bike until she was 108 years old.
She lived until she was 122 years old who, by happenstance, outlived a young person who agreed to pay her rent until she died or opted for a nursing home in exchange for housing; she was 78 years old at the time.
“He died and his estate paid for her rent so that’s intergenerational housing planning,” Brummel-Smith teased.
Specializing in Geriatrics, Dr. Brummel-Smith promoted active, healthy living among seniors to enhance quality of life, informing attendees of the available resources on the FSU campus.
“I teach at the FSU College of Medicine, which was the only medical school in the history of the world created with a mission to teach geriatrics,” said Brummel-Smith.
“We also have a mission to teach students to care for people in rural, underserved areas and minorities,” he added.
In an effort to bridge the age gap while promoting sustained healthy living among seniors, FSU College of Medicine paired students with active, healthy seniors.
“We assign senior mentors to students with whom they work with for that first year, going to their homes, learning about life from that person,” said Brummel-Smith
Other panelists included Executive Director of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, and Holly McPhail, one of the board members of Whole Child Leon.
Visit tal.gov/EPER for more information on the Sustainability and You Learning Series.