As baby boomers begin tackling aging in place, they are realizing the importance of community in maintaining one’s health, wellness, and independence. Some seniors are choosing co-housing, where a group of people intentionally create and maintain a community. In most co-housing communities the residences, often single family homes or condos, are owned privately and public spaces like gardens and meeting houses are owned and maintained collectively. Most co-housing communities are multi-generational, but there are some that are dedicated to seniors, such as the Elderberry Senior Co-housing Community in North Carolina.
Another option is the “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” or village model, which originated in Boston’s Beacon Hill Village. Under the village model, a group of seniors who already happen to live in the same neighborhoodform a non-profit membership organization to provide access to services that support their goal of remaining at home as long as possible. These services include things like “concierge services,” one-stop shopping for transportation, home-care, house maintenance, medical, and care-management services.
Some seniors, especially single women, are choosing to move in together. This allows them to split the costs of living, provide support to each other, and remain social while aging in place. The legalities of two or more friends buying a house together or caring for each other through a progressive illness can prove challenging, but some senior women are finding that the benefits of living with friends far outweigh the difficulties.