Most seniors are aware of recent research that suggests loneliness is at least as damaging to health as tobacco or obesity. As they look for ways to stay socially engaged as they age and may become less able to drive, having a shared living room and regular common meals just steps from their own home can make a huge difference.
As this generation’s seniors are approaching retirement and considering their options for their later years, more and more are looking for options that include opportunities for socialization, mutual support, and aging in place. For many seniors, cohousing fits the bill, and cohousing specifically for seniors may be exactly what they are looking for. Senior communities typically are defined as communities for people who are 55 or older, and they follow all the same norms as other cohousing communities, including shared management and maintenance of the property, common meals, large common areas and smaller individual homes.
With nearby neighbors who know each other well, the odds of getting help you need it go up dramatically. It’s easy for neighbors to keep an eye out for each other, or even schedule daily check-ins while still respecting privacy. That caring means that if a fall or other injury happens, someone will notice and help.
Senior Cohousing is designed with accessibility in mind. Typically homes are single level with elevator service to any units or common areas above ground level. Homes are built with wheelchair accessibility in mind as well as planning for grab bars and other supports seniors may need as they age.
While senior cohousing is not a replacement for nursing home care, many features make it easier for those with health challenges to stay in place longer. Common meals allow for less kitchen support. Nearby neighbors can easily pick up groceries. For medical or self-care support, neighbors often join together to hire a single nurse or caregiver to support several neighbors who need it, allowing for better care and less travel time for in-home support. Some communities even offer a temporary living space for such a caregiver who can be hired hourly as needed for cleaning, cooking or whatever care is needed.
Senior cohousing communities are places where seniors can share the activities they love. With many retirees, there tends to be ample opportunity for everything from craft classes, to woodworking, to daytrips and more extended travel. These communities are likely to see visiting grandchildren, but not to trip over trikes in the walkways. Their common areas are dedicated to activities that interest them without sharing space for kids playrooms or playground equipment.
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