From Senior Living to Co-Housing: Another Choice for Seniors?


If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, you know the benefits of moving to a senior community. But there’s a new trend in senior housing that is appealing to seniors who can live independently on their own: a co-housing complex or intergenerational community.

What Is Co-Housing?
In a co-housing arrangement, apartments look very much like any other senior living community or condo complex. The difference is that the ages of the residents vary from newborn to octogenarians and beyond.

Unlike traditional condo or apartment complexes, rather than minimizing shared space, a co-housing community seeks to maximize opportunities for residents to communicate, cooperate, share and play.

Features and amenities within an intergenerational community may include gyms, workshops, computer labs, art galleries, and even a shared space for cooking and eating. But rather than have professionals handle services such as snow shoveling and lawn mowing, younger members help out the senior members in a sort of utopian example of neighborliness.

These living arrangements benefit young children, who learn better how to relate to seniors at a young age and can benefit from their stories, wisdom and greater experience. And they benefit seniors, who may prefer to live in an area with a varied demographic in order to help them stay “young at heart.”

Drawbacks to Intergenerational Housing
That’s not to say co-housing is ideal for everyone. If a senior is on the borderline of needing assisted living in the near future, they may not want to depend on the kindness of their neighbors and the city’s infrastructure to guarantee the care they need. A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) might be a better fit.

By the same token, some seniors may not want to spend their retirement years surrounded by families and young children, no matter how helpful and friendly these individuals may be. They would prefer to make new friends of their own age in a senior community.

Rather than participating in fun activities geared for all ages, seniors may prefer activities targeted at others their age, including adult education classes where they can learn things like computer skills amongst others of their age and ability levels.

Finally, while an intergenerational community may offer most amenities within walking distance, transportation may not be available. For seniors who no longer drive, having easy access to free and convenient transportation might just be the deciding factor to move to a CCRC or independent living senior community.

Seniors Have More Choices Than Ever Before
There are more than 200 co-housing or intergenerational communities nationwide. The important thing to remember is that today’s seniors have more choices than ever before when it comes to senior housing. Understanding your different options, the costs and what you can expect in each environment is the key as you assess the different possibilities, from aging in place to a CCRC, an independent living community or even an intergenerational community.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 342-4297 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.