Sharing Maintenance-Free Independent Living
The modern world can be cold and lonely, especially for seniors whose families live hundreds–or even thousands of miles away, and whose busy neighbors come home and hide behind their locked doors. This thinning of our social fabric, the impact of the recession, and the uncertainty of the stock and housing markets has brought a significant number of Baby Boomers who experimented with communal living in the 60’s and 70’s full circle in their senior years. Senior cohousing is a growing phenomenon, offering savings, safety and social connection to millions of elders determined to stay independent in their own homes. Cornell Trace Patio Homes is an environment that can accommodate this concept with ease.
What Is Cohousing?
There are many variations on the shared housing theme and many different terms for essentially the same concept: cohousing, cooperative housing, intentional communities and communal living to name a few. Generally, all of them refer to a living arrangement where community members who share common values have their own private living space, but share common areas such as kitchens and dining rooms, green space, and community meeting space. At Cornell Trace, you share the clubhouse and grounds with the larger community, but you and your housemates would have the freedom to create your own “family of choice” within the walls of your patio home.
The advantages to pitching in together are substantial, but all of us are familiar with the compromises inherent in living closely with other adults. Not to worry! There are many organizations and plenty of literature that offer guidance in developing understandings to keep your household relationships going smoothly. Links to 3 websites follow this article. You needn’t worry about much more than that. The management of Cornell Trace has already developed policies for you regarding the use of the buildings and grounds.
Pooled financial resources
Recent history has been so hard on Boomer retirement resources that many believe they will never be able to retire. Even folks who want to remain in their own homes face daunting financial demands. Safely aging in place will require renovating houses to eliminate hazards like stairs and narrow doorways, and installing grab bars and chair-height toilets to make them more accessible, etc. That of course, doesn’t eliminate home maintenance and yard work. Consider sharing a safe, accessible home at Cornell Trace with friends, thereby reducing your costs and expenses by half–or more, and suddenly an attractive retirement is within reach.
It is my observation that our residents are living amazingly long and healthy lives. I believe their secret is not only because they aren’t burdened with home maintenance responsibilities, but because they are surrounded by the friendship and support of their neighbors in this community. The Mayo Clinic backs me up:
“Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
- Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise”
Many Hands Make Light Work
Housemates pool more that just money; they combine their strengths, talents and helping hands. Would you eat more healthily if you knew you could plan meals with a friend, then divide up grocery shopping, cooking and kitchen clean-up? Certainly! Companions at home also contribute to a sense of safety and security as well. Privacy and independence feel great, but the flip side–isolation–can be dangerous.
You Don’t Have to Be a Hippie to Live Communally
Who are these people choosing to buck the All-American Lone Wolf pattern and live interdependently in the autumn of their lives? Most of them are women. According to an AARP analysis, in 2001 480,000 Baby Boom women lived with a least one other unrelated woman. Ryan Cowmeadow, vice president of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, says, “Our numbers are up about 15 percent since 2007, and about 75 percent of applicants are female,” . Martha Nelson, whose debut novel Black Chokecherry dealt with the challenges faced by three women who unexpectedly find themselves sharing housing, says it is natural women seek each others company because they find it easier to form special bonds. “We form these wonderful, supportive, ‘tell the truth’ friendships, which survive the demands of husbands, children and careers. Whether living alone or with a spouse or partner, women cling to their friendships. When a woman considers living alone as she ages, it’s a natural progression to seek the company of her best friends.”
But Nancy Shaffer, 66, has chosen to share her Lanham, Md., house with men because, “Men seem to have a more simple life,” she said. “They don’t have as much stuff, and they’re happy with just their room, their computer and their TV. I’d rather not have all the friendships and stuff. Everybody’s independent, everyone’s got their own life.”
Can you see yourself in this picture? The spacious floor plans that provide both privacy and common areas, the broad lawns and the beautiful clubhouse at your disposal, the all-inclusive maintenance agreement, and the independence you get as part of your contract make an excellent template for you and your housemates to fit your own version of cohousing into one of our patio homes. Call right now. We are happy to answer any questions!
Follow the links below to learn more about Senior Cohousing.