For seniors, shared housing requires a little interdependence and creates a lot of independence. In many ways, sharing is the new Social Security, because it's a way for communities to come together to meet individual needs. Cohousing or a group house for seniors can create an environment where residents can provide care, or "co-care" for each other. It can facilitate shared purchase of services such as meals-on-wheels, home health care, yard care, home repair, transportation, and so on. Senior cohousing could also include a space for a live-in caretaker to provide care to multiple residents. Multigenerational shared housing can provide other benefits, such as opportunities to be around young children or to get help from younger, stronger adults.
A handful of communities in the United States were designed specifically as cohousing for seniors. Shared senior housing raises unique questions, such as:
Any existing retirement community can adopt many of the sharing mindsets and practices of cohousing communities, and even retrofit buildings to create more shared space. For a wonderful book on forming senior cohousing communities, read Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living, by Charles Durrett (Ten Speed Press).