How Retiring Baby Boomers Will Transform Traditional Models of Senior Living

<p>The idea of aging in community honors the elder stage of life as one with gifts and challenges. It encourages creation of caring neighborhoods and networks that provide for affordable, quality housing to support future needs and new opportunities.</p>
July 20, 2007, 10am PDT | sbuntin
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As the "Age Wave" approaches, new alternatives for independent living are providing seniors with more and more options. Intentional communities for philosophical, religious, and lifestyle groups; SOTEL (service-oriented technically enhanced living-like an upscale Embassy Suites); ecovillages; senior cohousing; and the new lifestyle communities being developed by Canyon Ranch are adding great variety to the choices available.

One of these alternatives, senior cohousing, was recently described in Newsweek: "Seniors are signing up for semi-communal enclaves, with separate homes but a supportive community . The idea is to bring back a time when neighbors were an integral part of one another's lives, sharing meals, recreation and providing a helping hand."

In this innovative model, separate one-, two-, and three-bedroom living units surround a common house that includes kitchen, dining room, gathering space, and room for activities. Guest rooms that double as future caregiver suites can be included in the common house. Homes feature universal design options including single-story homes, wheelchair-accessible counters, and many more options geared to the needs of elders. The typical size of a cohousing community is 25 to 35 individual homes.

Thanks to Simmons Buntin

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Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 in A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments
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