Can A Cohousing Model Save The Senior Living Industry From Obsolescence?


EcoVillage in Ithaca (EVI), New York is a cohousing group that has thrived since its founding in 1992. Co-housing communities appeal to all ages and within the final decade a big handful of them have been developed solely for adults over 60. EVI is multigenerational and operates a farm that helps to assist its residents. There are over 200 cohousing communities within the U.S. and lots of extra on the drawing boards.

Final 12 months, Rocky Nook failed. Rocky nook is a Connecticut cohousing growth that had been within the works for over 10 years. It was the tip of a dream for the 20+ individuals who had put their coronary heart and soul into the venture, believing within the ideas and practices that drive cohousing communities throughout the U.S. and elements of Europe. There have been only a few Cohousing developments which have failed and it’s heartbreaking when it occurs, however they’re grass-roots developments and typically unhealthy selections are made due to a lack of awareness (or a crystal ball) and the cash runs out.

So, why point out it right here in a weblog that focuses on ageing, retirement, and senior residing? As a result of cohousing is such an attention-grabbing and (I believe) viable mannequin for boomers who’re attempting to determine the place to dwell as they transfer right into a stage of life wherein they may probably want some assist and assist.

Growing old in place is a well-liked mantra for these of their late 70s, 80s and 90s for quite a lot of causes: it doesn’t require any dramatic change to an individual’s day-by-day routine, it doesn’t require attending to know new folks, it doesn’t require promoting and downsizing, and (I believe, most significantly) it doesn’t require giving up any perceived freedoms. Nevertheless, what occurs within the majority of instances is folks wait too lengthy to acknowledge that some modifications have to be made, and for a lot of older adults it comes on the heels of a medical disaster they usually find yourself in locations they by no means would have chosen had they executed some higher planning once they had been a bit youthful.

Comparatively few folks within the U.S. even learn about cohousing communities. When talked about, many individuals can relate to it solely by imagining they’re relics of previous hippie communes of the Sixties. With out additional understanding, many individuals assume that becoming a member of a cohousing group means they must hand over all worldly wealth and have their each determination dictated by the group. That couldn’t be farther from the reality.

Cohousing comes below the heading of “intentional group,” which implies that residents agree on sure broad ideas of how they wish to dwell. These typically embody a dedication to practices which might be earth-friendly, inclusive and respectful of all inhabitants of the earth, and a communication model that respects all opinions. I’m guessing fairly a big proportion of boomers would subscribe to these ideas, in idea, and could be intrigued by an opportunity to place them into apply with a gaggle of like-minded others.

The folks I do know who dwell in cohousing love their communities they usually reported feeling far much less remoted in the course of the pandemic than their counterparts in single-family and condos wherein they knew few of their neighbors.

What wouldn’t it take to get boomers to not make the identical errors as their dad and mom? I’ve to say, I’m undecided right now. That’s as a result of the professionals within the senior residing trade are dragging their toes about making the modifications obligatory to draw boomers. They assume they’re making progress by updating previous drained items with modern kitchen designs and new paint. They’re holding conferences to find out what sort of engagement residents will need. They’re hiring high cooks to design menus that can have attraction to vegetarians and to foodies who received’t wish to hand over their occasional Wagyu beef. Some are even trying to present residents extra of a say in determination making about insurance policies and practices in the neighborhood. This stuff are all essential and worthwhile, but it surely doesn’t tackle the devotion many boomers should their work, their communities, their causes and initiatives, and their households – the precise form of pursuits of individuals in cohousing.

At Rocky Nook, the failure of the venture got here late within the recreation. Lots of the properties are nearly completed, nearly livable. Actually, some have flooring and home equipment, courtesy of the hopeful future residents who had sunk a lot of their financial savings into the venture and had been prepared to maneuver in. I hope there’s a senior residing firm on the market with sufficient imaginative and prescient to breathe life into this venture and switch this almost-finished growth right into a thriving senior – or possibly multi-generational – group. It might be a leap into a brand new form of housing that mixes the assets and know-how of the senior residing trade with the community-mindedness and coronary heart of cohousing.


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