Some senior citizens are waving an enthusiastic good-bye to nursing homes and embracing senior cohousing living. I’ll explain what it is and why it’s potentially so great.
If you have aging parents who are making choices about where to spend their twilight years, senior cohousing is something you may want to bring up with them. Although it’s being seen as a new trend, history shows it’s been around in some form for centuries. There was a time when families kept their aging relatives with them. They were involved in running the household and helping with kids, which kept them happy, healthy and moving. I wish it was still this way. (If that’s your current situation, would you tell us about it in the comments?)
Senior Cohousing – The Facts
According to A Place for Mom, the average cost of a nursing home is between $4,000-$8,000 a month! PS: You’re not likely to have your own room for that price. The nursing home industry in the United States is ripe with corruption and abuse. It is, in most cases, a money grab for big businesses.
Senior cohousing, however, is a way for our older population to age in a way that may be much healthier both physically and mentally.
Senior cohousing is a type of living community that combines private homes with clustered living spaces. A senior cohousing community includes 20 to 40 single-family or attached homes arranged so that everyone shares the same lawn space and walkways. Forty homes are the intentional maximum to be able to accommodate to the community arrangement. Everyone has their own personal living space, in addition to a shared common house. This house typically includes a large kitchen, dining room, den, and laundry room.
Mom and Dad can have their own little home or apartment in a small community, while also having their friends right next door to support each other. The buildings and grounds are laid out to be easier for folks to get around. They can gather together in one building, if they like, and prepare meals, play games or just hang out.
The main motivation for such communities is that humans need connections with other humans in order to thrive. It’s especially vital for our aging parents and grandparents.
Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and author of Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity, writes that human brains are social organs. He says that means that “we are wired to connect with each other and to interact in groups. A life that maximizes social interaction and human-to-human contact is good for the brain at every stage, particularly for the aging brain.”
HOW MUCH DOES SENIOR COHOUSING COST?
To find out, I did some snooping. I’m sad to say that many, if not most of the websites, don’t make it easy. They want you to call. I’m sure that’s so they can make a sales pitch. Unfortunately, that leaves me without a range of numbers for you.
It’s actually not always easy to find senior cohousing online. There is a website called Cohousing.org but I found that even that site doesn’t make it easy to find a place. So many of the communities are still under construction, which is good news for the coming years.
If senior cohousing interests your aging parents, I encourage you to be aggressive in your search. Definitely start with Cohousing.org, but don’t give up if you don’t find anything there.
TALK TO YOUR PARENTS
They may not know that there are senior cohousing communities where they would be incredibly happy, active, and social. Getting out to visit some that you find could be all they need to make the move.
What is your opinion of this kind of living situation for our aging parents? Have you had first-hand experience in your family?