The concept still going strong after three decades.
The economic answer for retirees living in expensive cities, such as Seattle, may be cohousing communities, according to the Seattle Times in “Battling rising cost of living? Seeking a community? A look at the cohousing lifestyle.”
This past June, Charles Durrett, an architect who has been advocating for the cohousing lifestyle for years, presented a workshop for people who want to establish these types of communities. The idea is that everyone gets their own private home and living quarters, while sharing kitchens and other shared rooms. Neighbors share house items, meals, coordinate activities and make group decisions about how to manage their shared lives.
While he introduced the concept and phrase “cohousing” thirty years ago, he says he's busier than ever before. The workshop was sold out.
The concept could be an ideal solution for seniors who don't want to give up their privacy but would like to be part of a smaller community. Durrett recommends that each community have a caretaker unit, so someone who is able to take care of the residents, can live as part of the group.
The success of a cohousing community is not in the size or design of the house. It is due to the enthusiasm of the people coming together, who believe their lives will be better, if they are living as part of a community. That's the common denominator. The architect has lived in a cohousing community for 12 years with 30 adults—20 of them seniors—and 20 children.
Research has shown that people live longer when they are socially engaged. However, social can also turn to drama, especially in small groups. Therefore, people must learn how to get along and cooperate.
Thinking of moving to a shared community? Do the research and, if still interested, meet with an estate planning attorney for the pros and cons of the decision and its potential impact on your estate plan.
Reference: Seattle Times (June 1, 2018) “Battling rising cost of living? Seeking a community? A look at the cohousing lifestyle”