The interest in less traditional housing arrangements for older people, such as shared housing and cohousing, is increasing.
Different models for senior housing are gaining in popularity, as the population of older Americans grows, writes Paula Span. "Shared housing, cohousing and village organizations appeal to those hoping to avoid the high costs and institutional nature of assisted-living and nursing homes, or at least stave them off for as long as possible."
These options help seniors continue to live independently, while providing other benefits such as additional income, companionship, and community support and access to services.
Still, challenges can hamper efforts, says Span. The scale of programs is small, and they help a relatively limited number of people. In addition, programs require a great deal of work to get off the ground and housing options can still be pricey and cost prohibitive.
"Finally, there’s the rubber-meets-the-road moment. Cohousing or village neighbors can offer lifts or bring meals, but they can’t help a frail older person take a shower. At some point, residents in declining health will need home care or a long-term facility," notes Span.
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HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
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