29 Jan

Senior Co-Housing Is on the Rise: Here’s What You Need to Know

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According to an article by theheartysoul senior co-housing is on the rise due to the boomer generation looking for alternative living arrangements.

When we plan for our retirement years, nursing homes, or living alone with a home health care aid, is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, however, as much as we dread the thought, there may come a day when our family will be faced with the tough decision of whether or not to move us into a nursing home.

micheile-henderson-micheile010-visual-stories-nl-ppzass086os-unsplash-1What is Senior Cohousing?

Senior co-housing neighbourhoods were created in Denmark in the early 1960s and brought to North America in 1988. Due to the boomer generation looking for more desirable alternative living arrangements, co-housing has been growing in popularity and has picked up steam in recent years.

A co-housing community is intended to ensure that each senior that lives there can enjoy privacy and have a space of their own (their own house or apartment) while also being able to take advantage of shared spaces.

Necessarily, it’s seniors living in their own space, surrounded by THEIR friends who share things like the dining area, library, fitness center, garden, TV room, and more – how exciting!

A Greater Alternative for Seniors

For those looking for a more comfortable and enjoyable way to spend their senior years, co-housing comes with many advantages such as:

Higher Quality of Life (Mentally & Emotionally)

Nursing homes can be depressing. Many seniors fear to move into a nursing home because they see it as a final destination before the end of their life. Living in a nursing home can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, a primary cause of poor health among older adults.

A Real Community

This is probably the most significant benefit because seniors get to have their friends nearby, making it easier to share time and activities. Seniors that live alone face a real risk of loneliness, and a tight-knit community eliminates that risk.

More Privacy

Unlike assisted living, which puts seniors in close quarters with other residents, senior co-housing provides residents with their own house or apartment!

More Affordable

It generally costs much less than nursing homes or assisted living, since seniors share resources with their friends. The sharing concept of senior co-housing can help ease the financial burden many seniors face.


It’s safer than living alone. For seniors who risk falling in their home and getting stuck there for hours is a considerable concern. In a co-housing community, neighbours who anticipate to see you every day will notice if you’re not around.

You Have A Say

For seniors that move into co-housing communities, they’re able to sound in on the details of the way it’s being run and any adjustments that get made. Every resident has a voice!

Any Downsides?

When looking at the downsides of senior co-housing, the only negative we found was that it doesn’t offer the same level of care as assisted living would.

How Do Nursing Homes Compare To Senior Cohousing?

There are some advantages to nursing homes like access to trained physicians on site. However, as we stated above, many people feel that the drawbacks of living in a nursing home hugely outweigh the benefits.

Some Disadvantages of Nursing Homes Include: 

Astronomical Cost

According to “Cost of Care Survey,”  an annual report published by life insurance company Genworth), nursing homes are the most expensive form of long-term care.

In California, the average rate for a private room runs $307 per day, totalling more than $112,000 per year. If your loved one (or us for that matter) does not have enough retirement savings set aside, then we face a big problem.

Poor Mental & Emotional Health

As we stated above, nursing homes can be very depressing for seniors. Leaving the familiarity and comfort of our home and moving into a nursing home can lead to feelings of loss, loneliness, and isolation. Seniors who manifest feelings of isolation and depression express less optimism regarding their future health and quality of life.

Likelihood of Low-Level Care

We’ve all heard the horror stories of poor treatment and neglect in nursing homes. Some reports show that up to 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed, which causes inadequate supervision and increases the risk of accidents.

Loss of Independence

Older adults who are accustomed to their routines can find it hard to adjust to a new schedule in a nursing home. A loss of freedom and independence can cause seniors to lose their self-esteem because they are no longer in control of their own life.

Farther Distances

In some cases, a nursing home may not be close to family members. A long drive to visit on the weekends can take a toll over time. While some nursing home staff do their best to build a sense of community among the residents, it’s still not family. For seniors, a lack of family presence increases feelings of loneliness and depression.

Poorer Quality of Food

A tight budget in a nursing home can mean that seniors only get to eat processed meats, frozen vegetables, and canned fruit. Furthermore, seniors can’t buy additional groceries unless their relatives bring them.

Finding a Senior Cohousing Community

If you think senior co-housing sounds like a beautiful alternative and is, you can out check the senior co-housing directory to find the list of senior co-housing communities in the United States!

If some communities are already be booked up, don’t worry, you can still try checking them out and or inquire about a waiting list.

Take Away

According to the National Council on Aging, seniors are driven by a desire for connectedness. For us to be happy and comfortable in our golden years, we need to maintain our sense of purpose and independence. Senior co-housing is an exciting alternative to traditional options and provides the chance to stay connected to people and things that matter to us.

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