Hot Spots Community Decisons

Hot Spots and Disagreements in Senior Cohousing

Hot Spots in Community Decisionsfor Senior Cohousing

There are some emotional hot spots in senior cohousing communities.

Animal companions are very important to the lives of many seniors living in cohousing. Others believe pet owners should have strict rules to follow regarding their animals.


Hot Spots are those areas where people often disagree and disagree emotionally. It is important to get the following rules and regulations agreed upon early in the cohousing planning process. This allows newcomers to decide whether to join the group or not based upon prior decisions. 

1. Pets We love our pets as if they were our children and in some cases they are the children of seniors. Many pets can do no wrong. Unfortunately, some of those have been taught no manners. Their owners rarely see their faults. It is very important to have rules and regulations for pets in advance because it is hard to deal with a few pet owners after the fact. 

2. Alcohol Alcohol is rarely a problem for seniors unless it is being abused or unless people are opposed to alcohol in general.

3. Tobacco Another sore spot for smokers and non-smokers alike is when and where tobacco is allowed.

4. Guns Some see guns as necessary to protection. Others see guns as inherently malevolent. Still others see guns as dangerous, particularly in a population where some do not see, hear, or think as clearly as they once did.

5. Clutter Although some people are neater than others, clutter can be a problem, particularly if it is in the path of a wheel chair. And it can actually be dangerous to a senior who is using a walker or to one who has precarious balance.

6. Diet/Food Diet problems can center around allergies, food likes and dislikes, or general diet preferences such as a vegetarian diet or a diet with no pork. For example: Some who don’t eat animal products only want a vegetarian or vegan diet in the common house. Others prefer that animal products be prepared separately in the common kitchen while a third group wants any meat and/or dairy brought into the the common house to be prepared in private homes.

These decisions may seem petty but they still need to be made early in the cohousing process. One cohousing group in Dallas disbanded and sold their land after an alcohol disagreement destroyed the group. The outcome probably would have been different if a policy regarding alcohol had been made early in the community-building process.

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