It Takes a Village

An old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The implication is that raising a child is not only the parents’ responsibility, but also the community’s. Now dozens of neighborhoods in the U.S. are proudly declaring, “It takes a village to support our seniors,” and we’re excited about it. The senior “village” movement began in 2001 in the Beacon Hill section of Boston. Like many neighborhoods, this particular one had begun with a mix of single-family homes housing parents who worked and raised their children. As the neighborhood aged, so did its residents.Some in Beacon Hill began to think about ways they could get services to come to them rather than their having to move to retirement or assisted living communities. Working with a nonprofit organization, they created their own Naturally Occurring Retirement Community or NORC (rhymes with “fork”). Through dues and grants their neighborhood has services similar to those found in most retirement communities:...

The Mid-Life Crisis Returns

Leave it to the boomer generation to reinvent one more thing. As children, they reinvented the housing market: Their parents moved to the suburbs, leaving the city for safer neighborhoods and homes with enough space to give each child his or her own bedroom. Boomer girls now had the privacy to talk on their Princess phones and boomer boys the ideal space to play with their Hot Wheels. As young adults, boomers reinvented the shopping experience. The first enclosed shopping mall opened the year the oldest boomer turned 10, an age when children become independent shoppers. Their generational love affair with Spencer Gifts and Orange Julius began. Now in their mid-40s to 60s, boomers yet again have reinvented an American institution: the midlife crisis. Yep, we all remember someone who bought a red Porsche or a blue Corvette. We’ve seen a colleague buy a timeshare in some grand vacation spot, and we’ve a seen friend pick up a new hobby, like sky diving. Each of these...

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