Stevenson Center, Older Adults, Relationships, Inter-generational Community, Volunteering, Aging, Hope Meadows, Case Study, Community Living
This case study examines discourses of living and volunteering at an intentional and intergenerational neighborhood in Rantoul, IL managed by a non-profit called Hope Meadows. This is accomplished through participant and non-participant observations and nine resident interviews. The research contributes to literature on community-level efforts serving to strengthen supportive relationships among neighbors by examining a population that is engaged in providing services to their fellow community residents and the non-profit organization in exchange for below-market rent. Additionally, the outcome contributes to literature on aging-in-place, sustaining volunteer programs dependent on committed residents, and challenges of an increasingly disproportionate aging population. Due to financial constraints, findings suggest that a lack of available and willing leadership to manage the volunteer program hinders the sustainability of its program as well as an aging population limited by various age-related challenges. A diminished sense of inter-generational community solidarity was reported resulting in a less meaningful programmatic activities. Additionally, informants reported how neighbors provide limited direct service and emotional support to meet the needs of an aging population. Concerns with informal and formal senior care delivery options varied by individual circumstances. Concerns with neighbors providing intimate care were discussed as an invasion of privacy and are challenged by growing vulnerabilities as neighbors age. Future directions for research could consider incorporating the perspectives of younger seniors, families, and recently admitted residents into the community. Comparative research should be conducted within similar models such as Village to Village Networks, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, and replicated Generations of Hope Communities.
Ruszkowski, Derek, "Negotiating Informal and Formal Supportive Services Among Older Adults: An Analysis of a Caring Culture at Hope Meadows" (2020). Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development—Student Research. 40.