How Seniors Want to Live Today
Aging Matters

The Long-Term Care Industry may perceive the 65 and over adults as having similar needs-that one solution fits all. When they have that perception, they miss a big market.

When growing older, people face some of the most difficult yet important questions surround their living situations. How will our lifestyles and needs change? Where will we live and with whom? For some, their house is truly their home, and they would like to stay in it for as long as possible. Others may wish to move to a new residence, but don't want to leave their community or lose their independence.

Co-housing

Co-housing is an attractive option that gains traction among adults. This style of living enables a group of people to invest in a property together so they can create a community designed to support them as they age.

Today, adults embrace co-housing as a way to stay safe, independent, and healthy as they age-allowing them to age in place, retain social connections, and surround themselves with a close-knit community of like-minded individuals:

  • Residents manage their communities to meet their own needs, depending on support from their neighbors and outside caregivers.
  • Spaces and structures designed to be physically accessible and sustainable over the long-term, and they feature both shared common areas as well as private, personal spaces.
  • Co-housing can take the form of a larger scale development project, but it doesn't have to. It could also be a single household.

Tiny house villages

Tiny house village is another housing option that seniors want, and probably millennials as well. These villages are a new part of the tiny house movement, yet they hold a lot of potential to transform lives and communities.

The idea behind these villages is straightforward: bring tiny houses together in one place to create communities that share land, time together, skills, support, and other resources.

Older adults benefit from co-housing or living in a tiny house village with like-minded neighbors. It's an ideal later-in-life option. It allows them to preserve their independence by owning their own home unlike a retirement residence, all the while living in a made-for-them community organized to provide the supports they will need as they age. What they gain:

  • A positive impact on physical, emotional, and mental health as residents and neighbors age.
  • Promote co-care, a grassroots model of mutual support where residents assist one another with things like meals and running errands.
  • Financial advantages realized from pooling resources and sharing costs to decrease monthly expenses.

Let's hope the long-term care industry keeps a closer eye on these new housing trends.

Carol Marak, aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She's earned a Certificate in Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.



Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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