What kind of place do boomers want to live when they get to the point where a significant change is in order? My guess is that few would want to live in a nursing home or assisted senior center. But, once the birds have flown the nest, or the next phase is a decision about reducing living costs, options do need to be reviewed.
One of the alternatives that may fit into a more refined lifestyle is cohousing. What is cohousing? The Cohousing Association of the United States defines the term in this way, “Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.” So, those people who would like to have privacy but still share an area for a type of communal living can do so. But, to go even further in definition, housing for the graying boomer is like the old-fashioned neighborhood.
Old-fashioned neighborhoods found people in and out of each other’s homes, sharing meals and coffees. Celebrating each other’s birthdays and holidays. These old neighborhoods spread out the burdens of daily chores. These kinds of friendly alliances have pretty much left the world, but most boomers still remember them. And miss them.
These kinds of living arrangements can help the empty nesters have close social ties that will only serve to make them healthier, both mentally and physically.
Basically, though, one of the significant areas of the boomers life in change is their financial status. The following are the ways in which cohousing saves the resident money.
1) Optional community meals
2) Reduced heating bills
3) Common garden equipment
4) Up to 50% less transportation costs
5) Reduced gas consumption
6) reduced food and home maintenance items
7) Lawn care
Cohousing for Boomers brings same generation residents together who can share and remember life. It can be a welcome relief not to have to explain who Gary Pucket and the Union Gap are. Or why, often our politics lean towards social change and reaching for solutions.
One of the clearest and important threads that run through cohousing is the concept of participation in the development of the neighborhood from the beginning. This can bring members closer from the onset.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when evaluating the concept of cohousing. The Boomer generation has spent a lifetime transforming the world. Perhaps, this is the next step.