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Cohousing for Older Adults – 2010


As the older adult population ages, alternatives to institutional nursing homes are becoming increasingly popular. Senior cohousing is a form of residential development that emphasizes community interaction while maintaining and respecting individual privacy. To discuss this alternative to assisted living facilities, AARP has created this fact sheet to raise awareness of cohousing and the advantages it offers for aging in place.

Key Points

The fact sheet provides an overview of the advantages of cohousing for older adults, the challenges associated with providing cohousing to seniors, and how to increase the supply of senior cohousing. “These senior or elder cohousing developments are a twist on the standard cohousing model, incorporating all the principles of the intergenerational model but with features specifically geared toward accommodating the needs of older adults.”

Other report highlights include:

  • The main benefits for seniors are the opportunity for socialization in a community setting and a decreased risk of isolation.
  • The primary challenge for cohousing developments is a lack of public awareness in the United States.
  • There are approximately 2,700 cohousing households distributed across 23 states. However, the majority of these cohousing units are in the West.
  • Cohousing units are generally slightly more expensive than are comparable units, but overall costs may be lower after factoring in energy savings, shared meals and an accommodating transportation system supported by neighbors and friends in the community.

How to Use

The report offers a brief introduction and discussion about the social and economic advantages of cohousing for seniors. With the United States seeing a trend of older adults wanting to age in place and maintain their independence, neighborhood planners and government officials will need to establish innovative housing efforts that are specifically designed to accommodate the changing needs of older adults. Cohousing for seniors could be a viable solution to these shifting wants and needs. Planners and government officials can use this report to gain a basic understanding of cohousing and how to provide this housing development model to seniors.

View full report: Cohousing for Older Adults – 2010 (PDF – 42 KB)

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