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. 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 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, but don’t give up if you don’t find anything there. Try 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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49 comments on “Grow Old With Friends In Senior Cohousing”

  1. Donna MacPherson

    I live with my 2 daughters because of health issues and we get along so well ❤️ I’m so blessed

  2. i live with my son and my wonderful daughter-in-law …i am not able to live alone what with some health issues.   they are wonderful to live with…my other son keeps in touch almost every day….i love them so much and am very happy…

  3. For many years I was planning to design and build a small community like you described and it had so many wonderful, easy features, but my husband died and I gave away all my money and now a daughter has had me in a 3 stage retirement home. I am very independent and would still just love to be with others but at 84, lots are not in as good a shape physically and that is when things with others get difficult. I have seen none here in Pa. where I moved from Calif. but there must be some there. David did one for their faculty but it is one big building. If anyone knows of a good one, just let me know. What does happen when help is really needed if you have no family nearby? Thanks, liz PS: I had been a Real Estate Person for many years

  4. Currently my husband, 65, myself, my daughter and her husband, and 2 of my young adult daughters all live together. My husband is disabled after a heart attack and cancer. Our son inlaw does maintenence on the house.I have had open heart surgery to fix a valve and have a pace maker.  I still work very part time and my daughter helps out with meals and the house. I love the arrangement.  

  5. Michelle Ernst

    I have my patents live with me and it is great. They live upstairs and I live downstairs. I wish there were more homes that were built with in-law suites because this would definitely make it easier to find a home to buy for others. My parents lived in a retirement community and the rent kept going up on them so they moved in with me and I take care of most of their bills but they also take care of each other. I love it and love them. They have the independence to come and go but they know when they need me, I am there to help.

  6. Janet M. Jones

    Unless I didn’t read this correctly, I did not see the issue of ” medical” come up. Or at least some type of supervision. As a nurse of 47 years, and a ” senior” myself, I can promise you that safety will be a concern, and a group of seniors living together is basically a nursing home, but with no medical. I have no problem with that if it at least has rails in the hallways and safety measures, that most seniors do not have in their homes. Living together as a group is great psycholgically, but no fun if someone breaks a hip.( no better than home).

    1. Agreed ! Ideally we are at 100% can walk , get to the toilet ,bathe and get around but when we can’t we need a back up plan.. my sister broke her neck and has a brain injury from a friend falling on her in the drive way .

  7. I had my mom live with me and my husband for the last 4 years of her life. She had her own little area of bedroom, bath and living room upstairs. We enjoyed her company throughout the day and meals. Then she would retreat to her area after dinner to watch and do her own thing. It kept her independent, active and engaged. We did this after she spent 6 months in an independent living apartment. It was hard for her to do things in the activity area because she didn’t know anyone. Living with us I introduced her to the senior center and stayed until she made friends. Then she was willing to go a couple of days a week. We also lived in a neighborhood where she could hop on her 3 wheel bike and ride the loop. I hired a trainer from our local gym to come and workout with her 2 days a week. All of this became her social life. She did the light cleaning in her area and I did the deep cleaning. It gave her purpose and feeling of contributing.  It wasn’t always easy but so worth it. 

  8. Lisa Goglio-Zarczynski

    I am blessed to have had the opportunity to own a duplex with my parents able to live above me. They helped with the raising of my son and he thrived as a result of this arrangement. It reminded me of my grandparents being cared for by a family member years ago in a small town in PA. For me it was a win-win as I could oversee my aging parents and their needs, the joy of being part of their only grandson’s life and keeping the moving and mentally engaged in life. Fast forward 20 years, my son marries in his 30’s and chooses to return to the family house to start his family. He insisted that he wanted for his children the upbringing he had with grandparents in the house. God has blessed me with a do over, as I now am able to watch my grandson grow and be a daily part of his life. For me I am able to savor all the moments that I may have missed as due to financial need I worked while he was growing up to help support my parents and the family. Life has come full circle as my son is testimony to being witness to how we treat our elders says volumes about our society and the meaning of life.

  9. I have a sister several years my senior. She and her husband tried cohousing for two years after living in their own free standing home in a regular neighborhood. What they found was that they missed their old neighbors and were constantly driving across town to socialize with them (so perhaps consider a cohousing situation near the current living location); they spent more money because they went out to eat often; they felt restricted by some of the complex rules (difficult to transition from single family residence). I currently live with one of my children. Most of the time this works well, although I do not socialize as much as I think I would in a group type living situation. Of course my costs are reasonable for what I have (my own self contained “apartment” within their home). If money was not an object, I might consider a higher end senior community. But I would advise one look into the rules and restrictions before signing on the dotted line!

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