Cohousing in Your Golden Years: Making it Affordable
Affordable Alternatives for Aging Adults: Exploring Senior Cohousing
Traditional options like assisted living facilities and nursing homes can come with a hefty price tag, but there are still ways for older adults to live comfortably without breaking the bank. Senior cohousing is a rising trend that provides a unique living experience for those aged 50 and above. With over 160 established communities across 25 states and 130 currently in development, senior cohousing offers numerous benefits at a fraction of the cost compared to other options.
What Is Senior Cohousing Exactly?
Senior cohousing is a distinct and innovative living arrangement exclusively created for individuals aged 50 and above. This model involves seniors having their own homes or apartments while sharing communal areas like walkways, lawns, and outdoor spaces. Some senior cohousing communities provide private living quarters while sharing a common kitchen, dining room, and living room, creating a strong sense of community. This approach is based on the “Aging Better Together Intentionally” model, in which older individuals accept aging as a new challenge that can be tackled through solidarity.
Senior cohousing offers a perfect balance of community belonging and independent living. Older adults can engage in group activities, spend time together, and share resources like cooking meals, gardening, and watching TV shows. Such connection and interaction are crucial for the mental well-being of older adults.
What sets senior cohousing apart from other retirement living options is that only active seniors live in cohousing. Cohousing is not designed to provide round-the-clock medical care or support, so seniors who join must be able to contribute and share resources with the group.
It is essential to note that senior cohousing may not be appropriate for seniors who experience mobility issues or serious illness. Cohousing does not offer medical monitoring or round-the-clock care in the same way that an assisted living facility does. Seniors who live in cohousing must be able to live independently, but they can take advantage of the supportive community and sense of belonging that cohousing provides.
As senior cohousing continues to gain popularity, it is essential to understand why so many older adults prefer this unique living arrangement over traditional options. The advantages of senior cohousing are manifold and significant. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Reduced Loneliness: Loneliness and social isolation are major concerns for seniors, affecting up to one in three. Living in a senior cohousing community can help reduce these feelings. Seniors can participate in various community events and activities, form new friendships and support networks, and promote a sense of community.
- Facilities for Staying Active: Senior cohousing communities also offer facilities that promote physical activity and exercise, including shared fitness facilities, outdoor spaces, and pools. Regular exercise can improve seniors’ physical and mental health, maintain mobility, and reduce the risk of chronic conditions.
- Safety and Security: Senior cohousing communities offer increased safety and security for their residents. Neighbors can watch out for each other, providing help in case of emergencies, medical issues, or checking in on pets.
- An Affordable and Practical Alternative: Senior cohousing is a practical and affordable option for those on fixed incomes, offering significant savings compared to other options. Sharing resources is encouraged, further reducing the cost of living.
To find the right community that meets your budget and needs, start researching senior cohousing options early. Consider factors such as cost, available amenities, access to essential services, and the community’s atmosphere. Compare different cohousing communities, inquire about shared resources and communal spaces, and talk to people living there to get a better idea of everyday life. Doing your own research and comparing all options is the best way to find the ideal community for your golden years.