Exploring student discourses: Would intergenerational cohousing be possible?
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Intergenerational cohousing programs are arrangements which promote contact between younger and older adults through living together, including within retirement and long-term care homes (LTCHs). These cohousing opportunities have several important benefits for younger and older people, yet the stigma associated with LTCHs, exacerbated by the pandemic, is threatening these cohousing possibilities in the future. This narrative research explored three related puzzles: (1) How do students story the experience of life and leisure in LTCHs; (2) What dominant discourses pervade their stories; and (3) What does this suggest about future participation in intergenerational cohousing programs and how does it expand the intergenerational contact model? Narrative interviews were conducted with undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. Participants included students with experience working and volunteering in LTCHs, as well as students who have only visited to see family members. Three discourses were interpreted from the data: the discourse on The Transition(ed), the discourse on (Mis)Management, and the discourse on (Re)Valuing. These discourses, along with an exercise in narrative futuring, were used to construct and explore four vignettes of a narrative future in which intergenerational cohousing within LTCHs is an established practice. This study suggests that intergenerational cohousing in a LTCH may be possible in the future, however significant changes must be made in order to realize that future; changes that are likely to improve the quality of life for all residents, young and old. This study also suggests that discourse is an important social condition that must be considered as part of the intergenerational contact model when developing intergenerational experiences, especially cohousing.
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Benjamin Smith (2021). Exploring student discourses: Would intergenerational cohousing be possible?. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17304