Growing older doesn’t have to mean living alone. Many aging seniors fear the day when they must consider selling their home and property and moving into a sterile environment. Some express fear that they will be ignored, while others fear they will lose their independence. And some express fear of moving to a “senior community” based on a lifestyle they don’t have such as golf or tennis. If the aging senior is healthy and active, but is finding the care and maintenance of the property to be a bit too much to handle, or is having difficulty with the financial responsibilities of keeping their property, there are options you may not have considered. Here are some creative living options for aging seniors:
Co-Housing 1. This is an option many aren’t aware of because it isn’t typical or considered traditional, yet. Co-housing is when each person purchases a residence — be it an apartment, townhouse or a single-family house — that has everything a typical residence would have (i.e., a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom). However, the residences are linked to a shared space, such as a yard and gardens, and a large common room, dining area, and kitchen that can accommodate group meals or gatherings. The point of co-housing is community, while maintaining a level of independence. Current co-housing arrangements are inter-generational and don’t involve staff-provided services, but some can be age-specific. For the aging senior capable of independent living but wanting to be a part of a tight community, this is an excellent option to consider.
Co-Housing 2. Another form of Co-housing is the intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house or community center, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.
Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Homeowners Association type structure. Community activities include regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Co-housing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool. There is a Co-housing Association of the United States that has a website. For more information about this type of housing for aging seniors, learn more here – Cohousing Association
Share Housing. Just as when young people share living spaces to save money, the same is being done with aging seniors. Often, there is a widow or widower who is fully capable of living independently, has a large home and doesn’t want to leave it. So, they offer the extra bedrooms to those in the same age range with the arrangement being rent plus agreed upon chore responsibilities. In other cases, it’s a matter of two senior aged friends deciding to sell their respective properties and purchase a single property as co-owners, sharing all expenses related the maintenance and upkeep of the property.
As you can see, for aging seniors who don’t need medical monitoring or personal care assistance, but do need to be with others who will watch out for them, these options are available and worth taking a closer look.