What is Senior Cohousing?

Front Porch (photo by ohmeaghan - CC-BY)

Front Porch (photo by ohmeaghan - CC-BY)

Senior cohousing provides a positive  alternative to assisted living and retirement homes for aging adults who are healthy enough to live independently but do not want to be alone.

Senior cohousing (or elder cohousing)  allows for “aging in community” at a time of life when friendship and support takes on special importance.

Cohousing for older individuals usually revolves around a planned neighborhood which provides all the desirable aspects of a small community while retaining the privacy afforded by an individual home. Residents have a mutual interest in helping one another and keeping an eye on the safety of the neighborhood. In a senior cohousing community, independence and interdependence go hand and hand.

While there are many multi-generational cohousing models, they often fall short of meeting the physical and emotional needs of aging residents. Communities designed specifically for seniors address the special needs of advancing age. Housing is adapted to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, if necessary, and allows for single-floor living. Transportation, shopping and health care are nearby.

Living amongst one’s peers means that seniors do not feel socially isolated as they often do in communities with younger residents. The intended desire of each resident to “age in community” carries an implied willingness to share in one another’s physical and emotional needs. The supportive atmosphere of senior cohousing means that age-related physical and emotional declines like dementia can often be managed at home until more serious intervention is required.

Senior cohousing has garnered increasing interest as baby boomers reach retirement age and seek communities where they can live a vibrant, involved life without having to consider moving again as they age.

For more information on senior cohousing

Senior cohousing communities

Read more about other types of intentional communities

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