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Intergenerational Housing Trends for Aging Adults

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Intergenerational Housing Trends for Aging Adults

Many older adults who are either newly retired or have been retired for quite some time have considered what their housing situation will look like down the road. Some may consider moving into a retirement village with folks who are the same age and have the same interests. Others will move into an assisted living facility or nursing home because they need the extra care and attention. But as we know, many people want to stay in their own home as they age because it’s where they feel most comfortable. However there’s an emerging housing trend that challenges all three notions. Intergenerational housing is becoming an alternative housing solution for older adults looking for a non-traditional environment. Here is some information about intergenerational cohousing communities that can help keep some older adults in a home of their own.

Senior-only housing isn’t for everyone which is why some older adults, including boomers, are choosing to move into cohousing communities. But what exactly is cohousing? In cohousing, a group of people purchase a property or build one with the help of a developer. From design to construction, the residents of the community call the shots including defining the rules that will govern the community. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be about 300 cohousing communities across the country. In these communities, individuals have their own private home or condo, but share common areas. These condos or attached homes are clustered together, and while prices vary by area, they can range from $120,000 to $750,000 per property for one to five bedrooms. In some communities, rental properties are also available.

Typical intergenerational cohousing residents are committed to community life, and enjoy the interaction with other residents. Within the cohousing community, people often share weekly dinners, outdoor space and other community facilities. An interesting feature of these developments is that all ages are welcome. By living in an intergeneration cohousing community residents can interact with anyone - from newborns to centenarians. These communities help seniors avoid the isolation that sometimes comes with living alone, and allows them to socialize with others outside of their age. Cohousing strikes a balance between privacy and interaction which may be missing from other senior living arrangements.

Older adults who may require assisted living will find that some cohousing communities offer extra bedrooms for guests and caregivers. Fortunately, for residents who do not have their own caregivers, their neighbors are often more than willing to step up to task and lend a helping hand. While not meant to replace professional help, cohousing can benefit those who cannot easily care for themselves.

Intergenerational housing may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But as folks look for alternative living arrangements, more are looking to the community spirit offered by intergenerational housing communities.

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/business/retirementspecial/retirees-choose-intergenerational-cohousing.html?_r=0
aarp.org/home-garden/housing

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