Retirement Community - Elder/Senior Cohousing

Elder/Senior Cohousing

Senior cohousing is a living arrangement in which multiple individually owned housing units are oriented around a common open area and a common house. Cohousing website Residents actively cooperate to live in a neighborhood in which there is socialization, and mutual support for one another. The idea for elder cohousing originated in Denmark, where intergenerational cohousing was successfully implemented. This idea formulated into an age-specific cohousing model for active elders, in which, the design in the communities includes easy access for all levels of physical ability. There may also be options to include studio residencies in the common house to provide living quarters for home health aids whose services may be shared by several residents.

Elder cohousing is a spin off from intergenerational cohousing. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents who all share in many daily activities together.

There are six defining characteristics of cohousing. To be considered a "cohousing community" the following must be present:

1. Participatory process- the future residents participate in the design so that it meets their needs.

2. Neighborhood design- the physical layout and orientation of the buildings encourage a sense of community

3. Common facilities

4. Resident Management

5. Non-hierarchical stricture and decision making

6. No shared community economy

Age Requirements for Elder Cohousing

At least 80% of the units in the community must have an individual aged 55 or older to meet the age requirements to qualify as "senior housing".


The cohousing living arrangement was first observed in Denmark. There, the communities are known as "bofoellesskaber" in Danish which translates to "living communities". K. McCamant and C. Durrett coined the term "cohousing" and launched it in the United States in the 1970s. Since its introduction to the U.S. intergenerational cohousing communities have been developed in at least twenty-one states. As far as elder cohousing communities, there are several in Canada, two noted here. WOLF WILLOW SENIORS COHOUSING, SASKATOON, CANADA - The purpose of Wolf Willow is to develop a cohousing community for people aged 55 years and older that encourages a sense of community while maintaining the option for privacy, and is within walking/biking distance of most of our needs. Wolf Willow is the first senior co-housing development in Canada. In January 2008 there was an initial group meeting about creating a cohousing community in Saskatoon and it opened in 2012 using a consensus decision-making model. The building is 4 stories with 21 self-contained, single apartments designed around 4,400 square feet of common space including a lounge, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, exercise room, sauna, multipurpose rooms, guest rooms, spacious workshop and two large common decks.

HARBOURSIDE SENIORS COHOUSING is an intentional neighbourhood of condominium strata-titled housing for seniors that is affordable, environmentally friendly, and socially/culturally supportive, allowing people to flourish through mutual support as they age in place and in community. The mission is to be a sustainable senior cohousing homeowner community that promotes healthy 'aging in place'. The physical structure and the social fabric nurture an innovative elder culture with lively connections to the larger society. While respecting personal privacy, we foster cooperation, social connection and affordability through design and through the sharing of elder care as well as physical and social resources. In January 2013, eight households became founding members of Harbourside, a senior cohousing community in Sooke, near Victoria, BC, Canada.

There are currently four located in the United States.

  • Glacier Circle Senior Center in Davis, California
  • Elderspirit Community in Abingdon, Virginia
  • Silver Sage Community in Boulder, Colorado
  • Elder Grace in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Famous quotes containing the words elder and/or senior:

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