Focus on “Loose-Tie-Big-Family”
- The border between individuals and groups will become blurred

In large cities these days we see more and more examples of a new model of “loose-tie-big-family”

As you get older, your biggest concern is often the safety of living by yourself. Many of those who have children choose to move near to them. Many of those without children choose to live in full-service continuing care communities.

In large cities these days, we see more and more examples of a new model of “loose-tie-big-family” – older parents and their children’s families living separately in the same neighborhood. And they get together often and go out as a big family of three generations.

Another type of “big family” is emerging as the population ages.

In retirement communities, many older adults who are in similar situations live together, supporting each other like a loosely-connected big family.

For example, in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in New Hampshire called “Kendal at Hanover,” the residents have set up a non-profit organization to participate the planning and operation of the CCRC.

They played an active role in shaping the structure of the community, the social, cultural and intellectual life there. They determined all the management rules, how the residents get involved, how to cooperate with the local town and all the other management policies.

Japanese examples of a “loose-tie-big-family

One of the Japanese examples of a “loose-tie-big-family” is “Life House Tomodachi-Mura (Life House Friends Village)” in Nakaizu-cho, Shizuoka prefecture. Almost all the residents here are women who had been living by themselves. Most of them are in their 60’sand all of them are capable of living independently.

The difference between this house and the usual apartment is that there are many spaces and facilities for common use. Here, you can live independently, respecting one another’s privacy, while also enjoying other people’s company through different activities. You will not experience the solitude or uneasiness of living by yourself, even when you get really old.

A similar example can be found in several other cities, such as “Denen Seikatsu-kan (Country Life Residence)” in Katsuura-cho, Chiba prefecture; “Co-operative House Shalom Tsukimino” in Yamato city, Kanagawa prefecture; and a collective house for multi-generations called “Ashiya 17℃” in Ashiya city, Hyogo prefecture.

How can we maintain stable and friendly relationships in this new type of loose-tie big family? The key factor is whether the management can combine the individuals smoothly in a group. The management needs to do the following:

1) Establish clear rules to support a loosely-connected big family.

2) Build a system that enables each member to be involved in a loosely-connected big family when they wish, but also to have their privacy preserved.

3) Coordinate the relationship between the local town and a loosely-connected big family.

Many people choose to live in a group to avoid the solitude of living by themselves. However, living with other people will bring its own problems and annoyances that you don’t have living by yourself. The ideal is to live with other people, respecting one another, being independent as an individual, and supporting one another whenever it’s necessary.

The mixing function of the individuals in a group will make it possible. In a loosely-connected big family, each member will have an opportunity to learn from one another.

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