If you crave a closer community connection, but still value living independently in your own home, cohousing might be right for you. Trish Becker, executive director of the Cohousing Association of the United States, will discuss cohousing at a free Seniors’ Council meeting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, at the library in Lone Tree.
So what makes cohousing communities unique? According to Becker, they are intentional, collaborative neighborhoods that combine extensive common facilities with private homes to create strong and successful housing developments. Most of these communities are organized as townhouse or condominium developments with homeowners association; a few are organized as cooperatives.
Cohousing is not a financial or legal model, but rather a descriptive term that shows the intent of these developments to cultivate a strong sense of community through extensive common facilities and active collaboration of the residents. There are currently about 180 existing cohousing communities in the U.S. and about the same number in some stage of formation. Becker is currently involved with two Front Range communities.
Cohousing residents may share meals, equipment, gardening and chores. Sharing often makes tasks easier and more enjoyable. It is a green and sustainable way of life.
Experts state that cohousing communities bring together the value of private homes and the advantages of shared public space. These intentional communities focus on connectivity that facilitates social interaction, sustainable design and shared resources. Cohousing communities are established around three principles that make them different from traditional neighborhoods. They emphasize growing the community, increasing sustainability, and aging successfully. Most cohousing communities are designed to foster intergenerational connectivity, offering opportunities to live among people in all stages of life.
Becker believes that cohousing is a great way for older adults to age in place as it provides the social capital and mutual support that is linked with longer, healthier and happier lives. There are a growing number of older adult cohousing communities in addition to the intergenerational communities. Cohousing can be an antidote to loneliness, which affects over half of Americans, and has the same deleterious health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
Please plan to attend the Seniors’ Council meeting on Thursday, January 5 at 10 a.m. at the Lone Tree Library located at 10055 Library Way. The meeting is free and open to people of all ages.
Jean Spahr is the publications chair for the Douglas County Seniors’ Council.
This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. For more information about our monthly presentations, meetings, and events visit www.MyDougCoSeniorLife.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.