What do you do when you want the autonomy of living on your own but the social benefits of cohabitation?

Whether you are married, coupled, divorced or widowed, living in a house surrounded by neighbours you don’t really know can be lonely and isolating. But what is the alternative if you aren’t looking to live with your adult children or are not ready to move to a retirement or nursing home?

By 2050, the number of people over 60 years of age will have tripled, and with that the question of where to live in order to lead the best life possible.

Cohousing neighbourhoods were created in Denmark in the early 1960s and brought to North America in 1988. However, with the boomer generation looking for alternative living arrangements, cohousing has been growing in popularity.

This type of living arrangement offers the best of both worlds: a private dwelling among a “common house” with shared amenities. So while each individual home will have its own bedroom(s), living space, bathroom and kitchen, there is also a shared kitchen and dining room, guest room, gardens, and possibly a library or workshop.

Residents manage their cohousing community themselves and can bring in a resident caregiver as needed. These communities are designed for physical accessibility as well as financial, environmental and social sustainability. According to the Canadian Cohousing Network, seniors who choose a cohousing arrangement can often live on their own for at least ten years longer than they might otherwise be able to in traditional housing.

cohousing house tree

The benefits of regular social interaction are well documented, and this type of living arrangement not only fosters independence, but increases social engagement, which keeps the brain, heart and spirit nourished. The Canadian Cohousing Network has a list of various cohousing communities across the country that are forming, in development, under construction and complete. You can check those out here.

If you aren’t quite ready for a move, but are looking to create a “community” of people with similar interests, Amintro can help.

Following years of research and with the help of numerous wonderful partnerships, Amintro has developed a process, based on input from experts in the field of sociology and mature adults, which helps you build a safe, private online profile that reflects who you are as a friend – and what you consider important characteristics in your friends, based on your personal experiences, likes and dislikes.

This platform helps those fifty plus create a community, both online and off. You can connect with people from around the world or close to home (within 100 kms or less of where you live) so that you can meet up face to face, and receive the support and social engagement you need in various ways.

Membership is free and you can register on our website or download the app from Google Play. Learn more about us, our community and how to become an Amintronian by following us on Twitter: @AmintroFriends, or liking us on Facebook: AmintroFriends.

By Christine Tompa