Cohousing is a community type that people own their traditional amenities but also have shared spaces in common house. The shared spaces may include common kitchen, dining area, storage space, shared equipment and public gardens. In this community, residents make decision and manager community cluster together.

Since the cohousing have such value that making people be more familiar with each other, I am wondering if that aging people suitable living in cohousing or create a senior cohousing community.

There are a lot cases for senior cohousing in U.S. Also here is a special cohousing community in U.K., which scheme is exclusively for women aged 50 or more. People who live here come from a variety of background, but they used to live alone. Now there are twenty members. It called OWCH group.

The OWCH group (owch.org.uk, 2016)
IMAGE BY PTE ARCHITECTS

 

Why these older people start living in cohousing? What are they need in cohousing?

When these older people retired, they are as normal that they need private space for living. At the same time, they may feel lonely. If they live in cohousing, they will get an opportunities to community with others. As we know, aging people have strong desire to connect with social support networks and leisure and cultural activities.

On the other hand, they would like to own a two-bedroom property. The inner design in their house strongly demand to design an easy access way to their house and inner space such as kitchens and bathrooms. For the security reason, the older people would like to live in a secure neighborhoods and safe properties with completed security equipment.

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Andy Thomson and Eammon Russell in the Kirkintilloch shed: ‘We have a laugh, though we don’t talk about personal lives.’ Photograph: Martin Hunter for the Observer

However, there also some barriers which may push older people away from cohousing project. For example, they are not familiar with cohousing model. Secondly, the absence skills especially the financial skills would make older people hard to organize a cohousing scheme. Finally the cost of the land and the value or property may be considering by aging people.

In my opinion, I think cohousing project should attract people from all ages. Although the community only have single age of older can make older people get special care, the lack of appropriate skills and difficulties in contact with other age people also will lead the cohousing project to an unexpected direction.

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Reference:

Durrett, C. and Thomas, W. (2009). Senior cohousing handbook. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers.

JRF. (2013). Senior cohousing communities – an alternative approach for the UK?. [online] Available at: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/senior-cohousing-communities-–-alternative-approach-uk [Accessed 15 May 2016].

OWCH. (2016). Welcome to Older Women’s Co-Housing. [online] Available at: http://www.owch.org.uk/ [Accessed 15 May 2016].