S4-EP4: Aging Options: Skylar Skikos on Intergenerational and Regenerative Communities

Nov 19, 2021


Debbie Weil talks to Skylar Skikos about options beyond retirement communities for those who can’t stand the idea of living only with old people.



One of the things Debbie is starting to think about is where and how she and her husband Sam Harrington might want to live as they get older – a lot older than their current 70. Like many Boomers, they are repelled by the idea of living only with “old people.”

This week on the podcast she turns to Skylar Skikos to learn about new options. Skylar, 40, is a philosopher at heart and a financier by trade. He’s a real estate developer and investor who specializes in hospitality and senior care and he’s Chief Development Officer of Modern Elder Academy in Baja, MX. 

You’ve heard Debbie talk before about MEA, the world’s first midlife wisdom school. Skylar is fascinated with how to create places that help people flourish, particularly as they age. He thinks there’s something missing from age-segregated communities and Debbie couldn’t agree more. She wants to run screaming when she sees glossy ads for age 55+ retirement communities like The Villages in Florida because… who wants to live only with old people where the focus is solely on recreation and having fun?

This episode is her first attempt to start unpacking the topic of where and how older people can live where they can be part of a mixed-age community, still contributing and living productively, and avoid the loneliness and isolation that many of us associate with retirement communities. 

Debbie and Skylar talk about several alternatives. One is intergenerational housing that mixes age groups. A number of intergenerational developments are underway right now in different parts of the U.S. They also talk about something called Regenerative Communities, a concept being pioneered by MEA. 

Skylar joined MEA to help them develop a collection of Regenerative Communities, each of which will include mixed-age residents, a midlife wisdom school where you explore how to grow and thrive in the latter stages of life, and a surrounding regenerative farm. 

The first Regenerative Community being developed in the U.S. is outside Sante Fe, NM. Debbie and Sam are so intrigued with this concept and are hoping that MEA will turn its sights towards the East Coast, which is closer to home and family for them.





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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."