Listing the many benefits of senior or elder cohousing begins with the words friendship and safety.
Friendships start and deepen in cohousing. This is one of the reasons cohousing protects seniors from isolation.
There are so many benefits to senior cohousing that it is hard to make a comprehensivelist. Some of the benefits are:
1. Friendships Stop Social Loneliness Social loneliness is caused by the lack of friends and acquaintances and is worsened by the isolation of retirement and/or by living in apartments or suburban neighborhoods. Cohousing immediately ends the isolation of apartment and/or suburban living and helps replace workday friends. And, although social opportunities exist in all retirement housing, cohousing makes it much easier and quicker to make social friends, particularly for those who are somewhat shy.
2. Ends Emotional Loneliness Retirement can be lonely for many, particularly those who are far from or have no close family. It is also a problem for seniors who are single. Emotional loneliness comes from having no one to share your intimate thoughts. Even one "best friend" can end emotional loneliness. In fact, seniors who have at least one person to share their emotional lives generally live longer than those who do not have that privilege. Cohousing provides the first step in making an intimate friend by providing close and repetitive situations with people who are like-minded.
3. Better Physical Health Cohousing makes it possibleto share exercise with others who are similar to you in physical fitness andage. The common areas of a cohousing community usually have walking trails with planned exerciseareas in the common house. Meals that are nutritionally balanced, home-cooked,non-processed, and organic are generally available without the daily cooking hassle.Meal time is shared with friends. Friends generally make seniors morehealthy, even physically.
4. Better Mental Health Social and intimate support, shared hobby areas,planned meditation andquiet areas plus the mental stimulation of activities, make cohousing a betterplace for your mental health to flourish.
5. Physical Safety-In a cohousing community, all residents knoweach other well. When a stranger is spotted, he/she can either bequestioned immediately or law enforcement officers can be called to do this. Gated communities are possible in many situations.
6. Shared resources, Saved Time, and Lowered Living CostsCohousing allowsresidents access to more facilities than they would have on their own such ascommunity gardens, greenhouse, game/card areas, workshops, art/craftareas, and shared dining and kitchen facilities in the community areas. Localfood and other buying co-ops can be formed with optional membership fromresidents and even membership among the outlying community if desired. Sharedmeals, car pooling, less yard work, moreon-site activities, smaller homes, clustered housing, trading goods, and shared guest rooms allhelp lower living costs. Sharedchores and less duplication of effort save an abundance of time for cohousingseniors.
7. Private, Quiet Times Cohousing provides private living, dining and kitchen facilitieswithin a private home with some home styles providing small private outdoorliving areas as well. Senior cohousing also adds a measure of quietness that will not be available in intergenerational cohousing.
8. Earth Friendly There are more opportunities to reduce, reuse,and recycle when working as a group. Rather than use space for houses, streets,and parking, clustered housing allows cohousing communities to preserve much ofthe green space of the site. Passive solar housing can be designed. Somealternative energy sources can be included in the community and even within thehomes. You will be leaving a greener earth to your children and grandchildren. Many seniors and their heirs consider this much more important than leaving money.
Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.