Intergenerational Camaraderie in Challenging Times

Lately, much of the media coverage around the coronavirus seems to pit generations against each other. While it may be tempting to point fingers or get swept up in these stories of millenials vs. boomers, old vs. young or us vs. them, these lines of thinking aren’t accurate or constructive. And, they make it difficult to bring generations together to do productive things like problem-solve and provide mutual support.

The coronavirus affects all of us, regardless of age, and now is an important time to come together.

At Odd Couples Housing, nothing makes us smile more than people in different life stages teaming up to support each other. It’s what inspires us and our roommate matches! We’ve spoken to a few of our matches this week, and they’ve been happy to have some company while sheltering in place at home. Hearing from them was a bright spot in our week!

What are the bright spots in your week? How are you keeping your spirits up?  If you need to hear some good news, we have some inspiring stories about people of all ages stepping up to help their community and cheer up their loved ones!

  1. Feeling antsy inside your house? Check out this young girl and her grandfather enjoying a socially-distant dance competition.
  1. Jayde Powell, a college student in Nevada, saw a gap in access to grocery delivery services among elderly residents in her community. She devised a plan to meet their needs. Danny Goldberg, a California high-schooler, had a similar idea and created an online platform where older adults can send their grocery orders to a volunteer delivery team.

  1. Celebrating special occasions can be hard when we can’t be physically together. Despite the distance, this family was able to celebrate their grandma’s 100th birthday!
  1. Dr. Jane Bedell had only been retired a few weeks when the coronavirus pandemic reached New York. Since then, she has put her plans to travel, and visit family on hold and is preparing to go back to work. She is one of the thousands of retired healthcare workers returning to the workforce to combat Covid-19.

  1. These 91 year-old twin sisters are quarantining together in their San Diego apartment–and finding ways to have some fun! Check out the daily pep rally they host for their retirement community from their balcony.

  1. Ali Jaffe is self-quarantining in New York and her grandma, Roslyn, is doing the same in Florida. But that’s not stopping Ali from learning her grandma’s favorite recipes–which are full of surprises–virtually! Listen to Ali and Roslyn’s story here.

Although we’re in complicated and challenging times, we are inspired by people coming together across generations to support each other. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and we’ll be on the look out for other good stories to share.

COVID-19 and College Students: Your Go-To Resources

Over the past week, we’ve seen significant changes in our day-to-day lives as a result of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. In our previous blog, we shared some information to help you learn and track COVID-19 cases. Today, we want to share some go-to resources specifically for college students.

Because Odd Couples Housing works with students, we’ve been thinking about the many young people whose lives and studies have been disrupted by the pandemic. This is no normal semester for many students. Colleges and universities across the country terminated study abroad programs, moved classes online, extended spring break, and in some cases, asked students not to return to campus. For many, this is a stressful time—financially, socially, and emotionally.

Because of this, we want to share some resources to make your life a little easier as you adjust to off-campus learning.

Stay in touch with your university!

First, remember that just because you don’t have a physical presence on campus doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay connected. Check your email, be in touch with your academic advisor, student affairs and other university staff and join Facebook groups to stay in the loop. Your university might be able to offer options for financial aid and work-study, campus resources that might be available to you, and handling extenuating circumstances. Your university connections are a great place to start if you need extra support!

Storage Resources

Also, if you need a place to store your things while you’re in between campus and home, contact U-Haul. U-Haul is offering 30 days of free storage to college students who are displaced due to the virus.

Transportation Resources

Is transportation a stressor? If you’re going home and want to avoid trains, planes, and buses, consider Enterprise Car Rental. Enterprise is reducing the minimum age for car rental and waiving young renter fees for students through 5/31/2020.

Medication Resources

If you left medication in a dorm room you can no longer access, or if you’re uncomfortable going to the pharmacy to pick up medicine, there are affordable delivery options. CVS and Walgreens are both offering free prescription delivery.

Technological Resources

Importantly, we know that not all students who will be taking online classes have reliable internet connections off-campus. Many phone and internet companies are offering accommodations for people affected by the virus. These benefits include waived late fees, access to WiFi and hotspots, and suspending service termination for those impacted by COVID-19.

In short, we know it’s stressful to make a mid-semester change or be uncertain about your educational future. It’s natural to feel anxious during times of unpredictability and transition. Because of this, we recommend you take care of yourself as you settle into your semester. Facetime a friend, experiment with a new recipe, read a book you’ve had on your list, or try some of these strategies to help you cope!

Do you have any tips or tricks for students acclimating to a new kind of semester? Odd Couples Housing wants to hear from you—please share below!

Debunking The Generation Gap

Baby Boomers, you’ve probably heard a lot about the millennials. And millennials, I’m sure you’ve heard a thing or two about the Silent Generation. So, where did these generational delineations come from, and what about the stereotypes that accompany them?

The Generation Gap is defined as “differences of outlook or opinion between people of different generations.” It’s often used to explain perceived differentiation between people of varying ages and feeds some of the generalities made about the behaviors of people in different generations. It could help explain why you may get some skeptical looks when you bring up intergenerational living to your friends or family members! 

Take a look at the chart below to see where generations are commonly divided:

It’s easy to make assumptions about people based on when they were born. But, does our age define our opinions, talents, interests, and motivations? A study from the Cambridge University Press on intergenerational differences in the workplace says, not so much. In their words, “there is little solid empirical evidence supporting generationally based differences and almost no theory behind why such differences should even exist.” Simply put, you might have more in common with a differently-aged roommate than you think! 

Take technology use–this is a classic example of something that is often seen as a dividing force between generations. Millennials and Gen X-ers have a reputation for being too tech-dependent while Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are seen as being out of touch with technological advances. However, a recent study from the Pew Research Center showed that that older generations are adopting technology at high rates. Nearly 70% of Baby Boomers have a smartphone! And just as interesting, while the rates of social media use have stayed steady for Millennials in the past several years, they have grown by at least 10% for both Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. 

All this to say, the generation gap might not be so very big after all! If you’re thinking about ways to make connections with people of different age groups, intergenerational living could be a good fit for you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get to know someone of different ages, debunk myths, learn a new perspective, and share what you know with another person!

4 Tips to a Great Start With Your Next Roommate

Living situations are important parts of our lives. Whether you are older, younger, moving into a new place, opening up your home, used to roommates, or sharing space with someone for the first time, it’s important to be comfortable in your home space. Settling in with a new roommate can be an exciting time–full of opportunities to connect with someone new–but it can also bring about a sense of apprehension about the unknown. What if things don’t go as smoothly as planned? What if I need a night to myself? Could we eat dinner together sometimes?

Happy Housing Anniversary!

If you’ve been following Odd Couples Housing, you probably recognize Nagesh and Sally. They were one of the first matches that we set up and have shared their experiences on STLMade and the Ladue News. Sally is a retired Associate Dean of Communications at Webster University and loves spending time with her cuddly boxer, Tank. Nagesh is a current graduate student at Webster where he is busy earning two Master’s degrees. 

October 23rd marked the one year anniversary of Sally and Nagesh becoming roommates. We caught up with the pair about the past year and what the Odd Couples Housing match has meant to them. 

“I got so lucky,” Sally said, “It’s been very smooth. It’s very win-win.” Nagesh is originally from Mumbai and Sally noted that some of the favorite things she has learned from him are related to Indian food and Nagesh’s keen cooking abilities. Aside from learning about Nagesh and Indian food, Sally has also learned some things about herself in the past year. Most salient? “Learn to let go. I don’t have to be a parent.”

Nagesh was also effusive in his description of the past year with Sally and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share her home. Living with her helped him feel settled in St. Louis, focus on school, and most importantly, “find a home away from home.” 

When asked about what year two will hold for the pair, Sally sighs. Nagesh will be graduating soon and most likely leave the St. Louis area. She will be sad when he moves out, but made it clear that she is ready for the next young person Odd Couples Housing sends her way!

And Sally’s advice for new roommate pairs?

“Live and let live–acceptance is key. You teach me and I’ll teach you.”

 

Living with a Roommate Who Works from Home

For some, the days of packing a lunch, getting dressed up, and going to work are long gone. Whether it’s every day or occasionally, at least 43% of American spend some time working remotely each year. Despite being fairly common, many people are not familiar with this new work structure. If your new roommate works from home, you may be wondering, “What does this mean for me?”