Reversing Age Segregation With A Little Help From Long Island Millennials

Jul 8, 2019

Advocates for seniors are alarmed by research out of Cornell University that found that in more than 60 studies, the fear of getting older has created an age-segregated society.

That can leave many seniors in eastern Long Island to fend for themselves.

East Hampton forensic gerontologist Nancy Peppard studies the process of aging and the problems that older people face.  

Peppard says ageism can leave older residents without basic healthcare, housing and community needs.

“Before the 20th century, families were living together and they had to live together to support one another. You had grandparents living with a nuclear family. Everybody worked together to support community members.”

But longer life expectancies and lack of affordable housing have forced young people to move away from their family.

At 70, Peppard runs the Out East Neighborhood Network that matches young tenants with older landlords.

The owner can “rent out rooms in their homes to younger people who are working on the East End who will, as part of their rent, help around the house, help around the yard, to enable that person to be able to stay in their own home.”

Groups like Peppard’s have popped up across the country to vet and offer social and care services to seniors, something that Cornell researchers say will educate young people on the troubles of aging and help older residents reintegrate back into society.