A new trend is emerging in senior housing and gaining in popularity. Co-housing is a relatively new concept in the United States, with increasing popularity amongst aging adults who seek to live in a community with enhanced social interaction with others.
In these unique communities, baby boomers and older adults share the property, living in private condominiums or attached homes clustered together, and share in regular dinners, outdoor space and other facilities. These “intentional neighborhoods” typically feature 15 to 35 individual homes, built around a common area to encourage interaction.
A feature of all co-housing developments, the common house on the grounds contains a kitchen, where communal meals are prepared and potlucks are organized, in addition to a living room and dining room, as well as other rooms based on the group’s wants and needs. In this way, the space can vary a good deal from one co-housing community to the next and demonstrates how co-housing is truly built upon the individuals making up the community. Some of these may include a gym, an art studio, an office or business center, or workshops.
In addition to these amenities, the common house always includes two or three guest bedrooms for visitors or caregivers, should residents need them.
While the neighborhoods are designed for social interaction, that most often extends beyond the physical property. Residents have a built-in network of pals to engage in outside excursions. All one needs to do is ask around or send a quick email, and they’ll likely find several others to join them in a trip to the movies, a walk, or plenty of other activities.
While these are often referred to as “senior co-housing communities,” the trend is incredibly popular with the baby boomer generation – meaning many are in their 50s, 60s or 70s, and many are still working full-time. Most are in good health when they move in, with the thought being, there will be a great deal of support when the time comes that it is needed. This is an ideal supplement to professional care, though not a replacement.
It is not commune, nor is there income sharing. There is a strong element of sharing, however – from tools and lawnmowers to on-site laundry, and the guest quarters. Decision-making, on the other hand, is fully by consensus. In fact, perhaps the biggest draw, beyond the socialization, is that residents are in complete control of the community.
As recently as 2010, no senior co-housing developments existed. But as baby boomers approach retirement age, and more adults begin to consider future living arrangements, co-housing is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Whether co-housing or another option, for aging adults who seek to live independently, preserving their social-emotional well-being is just as important as physical care. Call 1776 Senior Care at 630.469.4515 and schedule an in-home assessment to discuss what will work best for you and your family.