But what causes this lack of contact? I thought about my life and the lack of grandparents in my home but I knew there had to be other reasons for my peers. When intersecting the American culture of individualism and our generation's ideas of success and prosperity, the mechanism by which we lose contact with elders becomes clear. Most people do not see a future living with their parents/guardians or grandparents. It has become a cultural norm to move to a place for work, school, or interest while leaving behind a pre-mature life with one's parents/guardians. A person has not moved on in life until they are able to become "financially independent" and no longer rely on their parents/guardians' help. After seeing this system of isolation for elders which utilized very expensive facilities, I became enlightened that this may not be the most sustainable model. In order to bridge the gap between elders and the rest of the population we must begin to re-frame the way we live our lives - we must see value and not burdens in living with those who may have taken care of us and raised us when we needed it most. We must remove the stigma that old age brings and begin to see the contributions that elders can make.
Harold Dela Cruz
B.A. Urban Studies and Planning Candidate
UC San Diego Class of 2016