About Elder Cohousing

Glacier Circle - Davis, CA  Photo by Anne P. Glass

Glacier Circle - Davis, CA
Photo by Anne P. Glass

A growing number of older adults and baby boomers are rebelling against the threat of spending their final years alone, wondering who will take care of them, and perhaps ending life in a conventional nursing home.

Finally, a truly new alternative living arrangement is emerging: elder (or senior) cohousing, which puts choice into the hands of the older adults themselves, allowing them to proactively choose how and where they will live their later years, as well as with whom they will grow older, in a close-knit collaborative community where neighbors look after each other.

It is a radical “do-it-yourself” approach in which older adults themselves envision and implement the communities with no administrator telling them what they can or cannot do.

These projects are designed to foster a sense of community and are likely to take many different forms, attracting diverse populations. As of 2015, at least seven elder cohousing communities have opened with several more under development. 

Older adults consistently indicate a preference to live in their own homes. Elder cohousing communities provide the potential opportunity to carry out this wish among a group of friends, while adding a supplemental layer of support not commonly found in the average neighborhood.

Typically, most caregiving responsibilities have fallen upon family members, but many older adults choose not to depend on their children for their care. Additionally, an increasing number, especially among baby boomers, have no children.

Elder cohousing residents can maintain a sense of independence through a self-designed interdependence and sense of community by intentionally choosing the group of individuals with whom they will age.