Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Grow Old With Friends In Senior Cohousing

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Some senior citizens are waving an enthusiastic good-bye to nursing homes and embracing senior cohousing living. I’ll explain what it is and why it’s potentially so great.

If you have aging parents who are making choices about where to spend their twilight years, senior cohousing is something you may want to bring up with them. Although it’s being seen as a new trend, history shows it’s been around in some form for centuries. There was a time when families kept their aging relatives with them. They were involved in running the household and helping with kids, which kept them happy, healthy and moving. I wish it was still this way. (If that’s your current situation, would you tell us about it in the comments?)

Grow Old With Friends In Senior Cohousing

Senior Cohousing – The Facts

According to A Place for Mom, the average cost of a nursing home is between $4,000-$8,000 a month! PS: You’re not likely to have your own room for that price. The nursing home industry in the United States is ripe with corruption and abuse. It is, in most cases, a money grab for big businesses.

Senior cohousing, however, is a way for our older population to age in a way that may be much healthier both physically and mentally.

SeniorLiving.org explains cohousing this way.

Senior cohousing is a type of living community that combines private homes with clustered living spaces. A senior cohousing community includes 20 to 40 single-family or attached homes arranged so that everyone shares the same lawn space and walkways. Forty homes are the intentional maximum to be able to accommodate to the community arrangement. Everyone has their own personal living space, in addition to a shared common house. This house typically includes a large kitchen, dining room, den, and laundry room.

Mom and Dad can have their own little home or apartment in a small community, while also having their friends right next door to support each other. The buildings and grounds are laid out to be easier for folks to get around. They can gather together in one building, if they like, and prepare meals, play games or just hang out.

The main motivation for such communities is that humans need connections with other humans in order to thrive. It’s especially vital for our aging parents and grandparents.

Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and author of Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity, writes that human brains are social organs. He says that means that “we are wired to connect with each other and to interact in groups. A life that maximizes social interaction and human-to-human contact is good for the brain at every stage, particularly for the aging brain.”

How Much Does Senior Cohousing Cost?

To find out, I did some snooping. I’m sad to say that many, if not most of the websites, don’t make it easy. They want you to call. I’m sure that’s so they can make a sales pitch. Unfortunately, that leaves me without a range of numbers for you.

It’s actually not always easy to find senior cohousing online. There is a website called Cohousing.org but I found that even that site doesn’t make it easy to find a place. So many of the communities are still under construction, which is good news for the coming years.

If senior cohousing interests your aging parents, I encourage you to be aggressive in your search. Definitely start with Cohousing.org, but don’t give up if you don’t find anything there. Try After55.com as well.

Talk to Your Parents

They may not know that there are senior cohousing communities where they would be incredibly happy, active, and social. Getting out to visit some that you find could be all they need to make the move.

What is your opinion of this kind of living situation for our aging parents? Have you had first-hand experience in your family?

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11 comments

  1. Sounds good. Seniors still want our own space, take trips, and be able to be around others who are our own age.

  2. I did have the privilege of having my mom in my home. She had Alzheimer’s and passed in 2015 but it was a great honor. My daughter has Down Syndrome. It was just us 3 ladies! I asked mom’s opinion on things about my daughter, what we’d fix for supper and what we needed to buy. For a long time you really couldn’t tell she had alzheimer’s. My siblings and I agree taking care of my daughter kept her alert for a long time. She even went with us to Special Olympics.

  3. My mother 76 and handicap has live with me(her daughter) and my family since she fell living independently 18 months ago. In the next few weeks my husband’s grandpa (85) will be moving in with us. 

  4. Why is the author addressing this article to the offspring of seniors? Im 57 and am capable of finding my own situation. Many seniors have no offspring. I cant seem to find coliving infornation directed towards me.

  5. This sounds wonderful, but will probably be too costly for many of us widows living on a limited income. Would love to see this in the future for those of us in that situation and not have to depend on a child or children to care for us as we age.

  6. Well I agree this country needs more than choices we have now: live in your own place, go to an asstd living facility, or move in with family. Co housing allows for independence, but sharing commonplace areas all at a fraction,(I,hope!) Of an ALF!
    Will be checking into this option for my “retirement years”. Thanks for info!

  7. Village Hearth Cohousing is a 55+ LGBT, straight friends and allies in progressive and vibrant Durham, NC. We are currently constructing 28 small, accessible cottages on 15 beautiful wooded acres near to the Eno River and 20 minutes from downtown. Move-in is April 2020. Only four homes left! Find out more by visiting us at http://www.villagehearthcohousing.com, emailing us at VillageHearthCohousing@gmail.com or calling us at 561.714.8009.

  8. Unfortunately, you’re talking about two different things. “Nursing Homes” are for those who cannot care for themselves. If those patients were able to live in a situation like you recommend, they wouldn’t be able to go into a nursing home–they’re not eligible.
    Eligibility means: “you are unable to perform, without substantial assistance from another person, at least two activities of daily living for an expected period of at least 90 days due to a loss of functional capacity; or. you require substantial supervision due to your severe cognitive impairment.”

  9. After my father died my mother needed help I would never have even suggested a nursing home to her. She would move in with me, but I wanted her to have her own suite in my house. So I sold my house and she sold hers. She split the money from her house with me and my other sibling. I was able to buy a house with a two-bedroom to accommodate her. We lived that way for several years until her health started failing her. So I moved her upstairs where I could be close. That is where she died months later.
    I have told my friends when we need help we will all move in with each other no nursing homes for us!

    • I’m not sure where these housing places are? In the States? I am in Canada and have been trying to see if there are any old high school friends that are in need of shared housing due to being on the pension alone (it doesn’t cover everything) I have searched a few retirement residences and they are out of reach for most of us as well. Not all of us have children with their own homes, or big enough to house the parents. Not sure where to turn right about now.

      It is great that you were able to have your mom stay with you. When my mother was sick, I moved into my parents place with my two girls to look after her until she passed. Then my dad sold the house and I built one more suitable for him to access and he lived with us until he passed. Unfortunately I don’t have that house anymore and am renting, but will need to leave here due to the pension not being enough. I was working, but had to quit due to health reasons.

  10. Major decision to sell house. Keeping it up is getting very difficult.  I am always checking for where to live after I finally make that decision.