Odd Couples Housing Board Member Featured on Podcast
Recently, Professor and OCH Board Member, Dr. Brian Carpenter sat down with Vance Crowe of the Vance Crowe Podcast. Dr. Carpenter is an expert in aging and his research focuses on the clinical psychology of aging, including family relationships in late-life. Crowe is a St. Louis based communications consultant and speech writer.
The two covered a lot of ground in their 90-minute conversation. They discussed some of the changes that accompany growing older, how society views aging, an undergraduate course Dr. Carpenter co-teaches called When I’m 64, and their own hopes for later life.
One theme that surfaced repeatedly in the conversation was the importance of intergenerational relationships.
“There is tremendous value in getting yourself around young people”
The two agree that intergenerational connections benefit people of all ages. They chatted about the excitement and curiosity of learning from someone with different experiences and reflected on the people they know who have enjoyed friendships with an age-diverse group.
They also touched on the difficulty of forming friendships across age groups. Professor Carpenter explains how it can be difficult to break down generational boxes to interact with a range of people. He emphasizes that making friends across age groups is important, but because of how our society is structured, it often requires effort and intention. Most of us have no idea how to go about making friends with someone 20 years younger or older than we are!
Organized activities can help, but Dr. Carpenter notes that many existing programs that foster intergenerational connections work exclusively with young children and older adults. Those in other age groups have few opportunities to interact with those outside their stage of life.
“Our society is multigenerational and the more beneficial thing, I think, would be to make sure that people are exposed to people across the entire life span.”
-Dr. Brain Carpenter
If you’re thinking about how you can bring more intergenerational connections into your life, programs like Odd Couples Housing provide structure that can help build friendships across life stages. Other ideas include getting involved in community activities, taking classes, engaging with a faith community and joining clubs.
During their conversation, Dr. Carpenter and Crowe also discuss housing options for older people. They talk about options for getting support at home and how to address barriers to aging-in-place. Common barriers include safety issues, finances, and the logistics of running a house and taking care of oneself.
“We know that it’s cheaper and often more satisfying for people to stay in their homes rather than to move into a residence.”
-Dr. Brian Carpenter
Crowe notes that aging-in-place can feel like a luxury, but it may be more attainable and desirable than originally thought. And programs like homesharing can help fill the gaps. Having another person who is contributing to household expenses, lending an extra set of hands, and checking in on their older housemate might be exactly what’s needed to keep someone in their home longer.
Dr. Carpenter and Crowe touch on many other interesting and thought-provoking topics during the interview! Watch or listen to their full conversation here.