Will Retiring Baby Boomers Revive The Cohousing Movement?

Cohousing could be the answer for seniors looking for a strong sense of community and support from neighbors as they age.

"The basic premise of cohousing -- that life is better together than apart -- is an even neater fit for people as they age, because "aging is a team sport," said Dr. Bill Thomas, geriatrician and author of "What Are Old People For?" But cohousing communities specifically geared for seniors are just beginning to take off.

"For a long time, the team was your blood kin. Now the team, more and more, is going to be the people with whom we choose to live," Thomas said. "Elder cohousing is a response to the fading away of our traditional understanding of family and care-giving."

It is also a search for the elusive ideal of community: that remembered or dreamed-of network of people who won't cramp your style but will make sure you're OK as you grow up or grow old."

Full Story: Communal housing is coming of age



'revive' implies it is dormant or slowing

I read the article referenced and I wonder about that choice of word for the headline here.

We're up to nearly 100 intergenerational cohousing neighborhoods built, with more in development and under construction. All in less than two decades. Given that professional development partners can now take communities from finding a site to move-in in under two years, and the "do-it-yourself" pioneers typically took up to five years, it seems like the current rate is accelerating.

We are definitely seeing a fresh crop of seekers with the growth of "aging in community" strategies among the aging boomer population.

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach
Planning for Sustainable Communities
Berkeley, CA

Adults in Cohousing - Multigenerational & Senior/Elder Cohousing

Raines, I suspect they crafted the headline to attract responses like ours.

Those of us involved in the cohousing movement are clear that cohousing is thriving. We are thousands of people living in existing cohousing communities all over the country. We are walking our talk about sustainability, community, and living better lives by finding creative ways to blend privacy and sharing.

Unlike conventional residential real estate, which is largely stalled, except for the high rollers, New Cohousing Projects are happening all over the country. In the Puget Sound area alone, there are more than 10 different groups in various stages of formation. Most will fail to realize their dreams, but all will help spread the idea and lay more groundwork for the ongoing growth of cohousing.

In my community, Songaia Cohousing (a multi-generational community near Seattle built in 2000), we are about to initiate an Aging in Place Successfully study group, every Tuesday night for 10 weeks. This study group is based on the work of Charles Durrett, author of Senior Cohousing.

Our study group will consist of about 15 adults who are committed to living their lives together at Songaia and our newly forming sister community, who will study the challenges and opportunities that comes from facing our mortality, rather than denying it. We'll create new ways to grow throughout the latter part of our adult lives... to live and die together - in as good a way as we can figure out... drawing from a strong community base of good, trusting relationships.

I expect more and more cohousing communities to embrace the challenges and opportunities that comes with Conscious Aging in Community - whether or not they have explicitly organized as a Senior or Elder Cohousing.

Craig Ragland
Executive Director
Cohousing Association of the United States
(where you can subscribe to the Free Cohousing Magazine)


I just discovered this website and wish I had found it sooner. I am the woman who was featured in the LA Times article and a member of Wolf Creek Lodge. Unfortunately the links don't lead to the article anymore, but it can be found with a search on the LA Times website.
The author interviewed me several times and one think I asked her was to not use the word "communal" as that has some negative connotations for some people. So she used it in the headline!
Wolf Creek Lodge (http://www.wolfcreeklodge.org) is scheduled to begin construction this summer. We are seeking new members and have ten of our thirty units left. It's a wonderful community. Take a look at our website.
Suzanne Marriott

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.

Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95