The May 25 front-page article “Millennials’ most likely abode: Mom and Dad’s,” about changing millennial living arrangements, captured a rising trend and its perceived benefits and drawbacks. The article found a growing acceptance, which points to something previous studies have found: Millennials and their parents like each other. Unlike some previous generations who couldn’t wait to get away from their parents, millennials have said they enjoy spending time with their parents and, in many cases, their parents’ friends. It makes living together less of a challenge and more pleasant for everyone under the same roof.
More important, though, is to put this growing cohabitation in the context of our changing demographics. People are living longer. We’ve added decades to life expectancy since 1900, and we’re redefining “old age” and life after retirement. As life spans increase, the roles we play across the ages elongate. Think about adolescence, a concept that didn’t exist until around the turn of the 20th century. We created this stage when we no longer needed people to transition directly from childhood to work.
We live in an aging society. It’s up to us to take advantage of this gift and make sure each generation, and the human capital its members represent, is fully engaged.
Donna M. Butts, Washington
The writer is executive director of Generations United.