I have explained the concept of co-housing in previous blogs as a way to age in place. Be aware that the whole concept is evolving. There is a new variation, senior co-housing.
Keep the general layout of several modest homes grouped together with a main house or place for shared meals and other activities. Retain the idea that owners must pool their resources to buy land and to build. Subtract the younger more able bodied younger folks with families that make it more multi generational experience. Refine a self governing body that you would never be allowed to have in assisted living where it is a corporate real estate investment and it is their rules. Sprinkle in a few amenities that might rival some of the ‘luxury’ level of senior housing such as exercise areas and transportation services. The common meals will be more home cooking – not by a 5 star chef and the exercise facility may simply be the ability to walk indoors in all seasons.
What have you got? Senior co-housing that is is mushrooming up in many countries overseas and of course in California. For a look see at such a coed senior community follow this link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/15/happy-together-lonely-baby-boomers-turn-to-co-housing
Before you pack your downsized possession, realize that a lot has to happen to make this a good thing. If you could pick 10 of your closest post retirement friends and they have about equal assets and compatible personalities this could be a dream come true. You could self-govern well together and hire the extra help for maintenance. The rules would be for the safety of all but also uphold the dignity and independence of all your members.
There is a YouTube video of the original co-housing community in Denmark that shows the advantages of not going full senior on membership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmWrx0ntATU I show this video every time I teach my Staying Independent in your Home course at our local Community College. At the end there is a woman who has been in the group for forty years and now at 75 is not sure how things will proceed. It is poignant question to ponder.
As with the separate Village to Village movement, the problem is keeping a new influx of members. Lives change, people die, people change their minds and move out. With co-housing there is more a guarantee that you will stay as you have invested a lot more than annual dues.
I think the good news in all of this is that we are moving forward inventing and reinventing more ways seniors can live and age independently. Life is not always an ala carte menu of choices but at least these new developments seem more solid than the cute paper and cardboard community above.
For another peek into how this works, go over to England and look at a real life example of senior co-living as they call it: https://www.dezeen.com/2018/08/14/co-housing-not-niche-studio-weave-living-closer-co-housing-report-architecture/
and the actual building for women over 50:
Younger boomers have more time for these type of communities to develop. Co-housing is certainly not for everyone but independently owned shared living spaces are bound to be a solution for many.