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CoHousing: Seniors Find Independence Aging in Community

February 8, 2021 • Fenny Peiffer

group of senior friends enjoying meal in outdoor restaurant

Remember the days when asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar, or ride to the market was a day in the life? The support of neighbors especially as we age is priceless particularly for those without family nearby, or who live alone. For the residents of Glacier Circle in Davis, California, the concept of senior co-housing has created a commune of active adults living independent lives, with fellow age peers nearby to lend a helping hand. As the country’s first “aging in community” neighborhood, the value of knowing someone is there when you need them has led to the development of numerous co-housing communities across the nation.

According to the Cohousing Association of the United States, residents of these neighborhoods commit to promoting a sense of community, engaging themselves, and others in the practice of sharing. Sometimes considered a senior commune, co-housing developments are made up of individual homes that surround a shared space such as a clubhouse with a kitchen, laundry area, or dining space. Outdoor walking trails and community gardens are common features in these neighborhoods focusing on bringing like-minded active adults together for group activities. What makes these communes so unique is they allow residents to enjoy the privacy of their home, while taking part in social events like potlucks, movie nights, and the sharing of resources.

Boomers and empty nesters are jumping on the wagon, and planning ahead realizing that while aging in place is a cozy thought, living independently for as long as possible is the ultimate goal. Staying active on a social, and physical level is known to delay the onset of cognitive diseases, and who doesn’t appreciate having someone to call for anything from carpooling to an afternoon of retail therapy. Co-housing has revived the almost archaic concept of neighborliness, creating a close-knit group of people who understand each other.

Coast to coast, co-housing neighborhoods are enriching the lives of active adults from baby boomer executives, to those 80 and better. Bringing a hot meal to a neighbor under the weather, or hosting a dinner party maybe a blue moon event in today’s society, but for the residents of these life-enhancing communities, it goes without saying.

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