Co-housing for Seniors

Denise1952

Well-known Member
Anyone ever see The Whales of August with Lillian Gish, Bette Davis, and Vincent Price? My heart was/and is still touched by this movie. I love my own place, but can't help but know "for me" I am missing out on sharing. Just for myself now because I'm probably not going to give up my own place. And I know things are not like in the movies when living with others. This movie was very "real life" in my opinion. I want so much to have friends around but somewhere along the way, I decided that relationships were just too hard to deal with. I'm so sad because I feel that way and don't seem to be able to snap out of it. I know people that would love to live in a house together, share meals, share chores, like a family.

I would like to learn how to get along, and truly accept people's differences of opinion, difference in where to keep the cereal, whatever. What a rut to be stuck all alone in my twilight years because. Because I'm not willing to try anymore is the only answer I can give that is honest right now.

Denise
 

Judycat

Senior Member
Location
Pennsylvania
@Denise1952, I am the same way. Just don't have the energy to deal with relationships at this point. It can be lonely at times. There's an older lady across the street who says come over when she sees me but she has begun repeating herself. I feel terrible not wanting to deal with that. When I was young it wouldn't have bothered me at all, but now I have kind of gelled and am not willing to put myself out. Disappointed in who I am sometimes.
 

Denise1952

Well-known Member
@Denise1952, I am the same way. Just don't have the energy to deal with relationships at this point. It can be lonely at times. There's an older lady across the street who says come over when she sees me but she has begun repeating herself. I feel terrible not wanting to deal with that. When I was young it wouldn't have bothered me at all, but now I have kind of gelled and am not willing to put myself out. Disappointed in who I am sometimes.
that hits home Judy, I have 29 other residents here I could visit with and do once in awhile. There is one, old fellow that my heart really goes out to but he goes on and on as if I'm not even there. I can't stay long when I go over to help with his TV. It's mainly what I am able to do for folks here, help with their internet devices. He has a Roku Box I gave him but of course it's hard for him to figure out. He has learned a lot though. I know he is in his 80s. A saddlemaker, and probably at one time, a real Cowboy. The most beautiful blue eyes and long, very long white hair.

I just can't stay long, but I am that way with everyone really. I have, or get anxiety I guess it is, and rather than ever inflict that, or my occasional depression, I stay alone most of the time. I guess it really is a pretty normal thing. I really enjoy my visits, just always glad to come home again. I think I just feel safer alone.
 
I was thinking co-housing note along the lines of everyone would have their own unit and share a common activities room, similar to condo living but the more I think of it I would prefer if everyone had their own bedroom and attached bathroom, with a shared kitchen and living room and dining room. Everyone would need to pitch in and agree to hire a regular house cleaner and yards maintenance/gardener. That would be ideal for my husband and I as we like to socialize (play cards mostly). The only thing with us is we absolutely hate the smell of cigarettes, to the point I couldn’t live in the same house as anyone who smokes even if they only smoke outside, and I know this can be a delicate issue for some.
 

Chrise

Member
Location
California
I was thinking co-housing note along the lines of everyone would have their own unit and share a common activities room, similar to condo living but the more I think of it I would prefer if everyone had their own bedroom and attached bathroom, with a shared kitchen and living room and dining room. Everyone would need to pitch in and agree to hire a regular house cleaner and yards maintenance/gardener. That would be ideal for my husband and I as we like to socialize (play cards mostly). The only thing with us is we absolutely hate the smell of cigarettes, to the point I couldn’t live in the same house as anyone who smokes even if they only smoke outside, and I know this can be a delicate issue for some.
Most places including apartments and condos do not allow smoking at all...
 
Most places including apartments and condos do not allow smoking at all...
It’s more than that for me, like I said I couldn’t live with a smoker, period. Even if they smoke outside or on the other side of town. In a communal living arrangement I can see this becoming an issue of someone tried to hide they smoke, or an ex smoker starts smoking again. I’m sure it can be as equally as annoying for those who smoke, no one wants conflict. I suppose if everyone is open and honest it would allow everyone to refuse to join if it doesn’t work for them.
 
Because of this post I have been checking out cohousing websites. So many great cohousing groups out there! Based on the Danish model for the most part.

Almost all address the privacy issue - you have as much privacy as you want, and as much social interaction as you like.

I am in Canada so I have been looking at some really great Canadian sites, but there are many in the US, UK and other countries.
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
Because of this post I have been checking out cohousing websites. So many great cohousing groups out there! Based on the Danish model for the most part.

Almost all address the privacy issue - you have as much privacy as you want, and as much social interaction as you like.

I am in Canada so I have been looking at some really great Canadian sites, but there are many in the US, UK and other countries.
I too checked out cohousing sites, but found very few, and that was back before COVID; I'm sure there are even fewer now. I guess it depends on where you live, too. There is one co-housing site right in my town but the website really stressed a lot of physical stuff, like, "Now everyone will be expected to help in the garden." Ugh, I hate the outdoors; it's close to 100 here about 7 months out of the year! What'd be better for me is a big city kind of co-housing place that the only outdoor thing that was stressed was how close to a bus or subway stop they were, lol.
 

Jules

Senior Member
Location
N of 49
The type of living space that would be functional for us has been on my mind. Perhaps standard condos/apartments with the addition of a communal space for socializing on every floor. Have a quad in the middle for exterior socializing or relaxation or exercising. Or several exterior areas. I absolutely would despise sharing a kitchen or main living space. Been there, done that in my youth.

Around here strata insurance is astronomical. No smoking and no BBQs would be musts.

How many people that live in apartments actually know their neighbours?

Other main thing - senior building only for me.
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
Most places including apartments and condos do not allow smoking at all...
In our condo association of 72 units, we don't allow smoking indoors in public areas (hallways, garage, storage rooms, laundry room, etc.), but folks are allowed to do what they want inside their own unit. As board president for many years, I had to occasionally deal with neighbor complaints that a neighbor's smoking came though the vent system into the complainer's unit. The solution was ultimately between the neighbors, rather than the board. One solution that apparently worked was for the smoker to not smoke in the kitchen or bathroom where these vents are. Smoking is permitted outdoors.

As for the OP subject on communal living, I would think it could be similar to what many of us did when we were much younger. I can remember living in a house with a bunch of other guys. We each had our own room and had house rules that ere simply based on common decency - clean up after yourselves, don't play music loud enough to disturb others, and similar. We listed all the chores and took turns so all chores were equally staffed and we could trade with anybody else at any time. Yard work was also shared, as were all expense. We all pitched in when it came time to put a new roof on the house, though I doubt older folks would be expected to go up there and work.

I don't know how many here had ever lived in a similar situation, but these things have been ironed out many, many times, by many people. from what I read, such shared living is becoming much more common among younger folks these days due to financial pressures.

Tony
 
My husband and I are retired professionals living in a very nice sub-division in central Florida. We are in excellent health but being strategic planners have decided to look into the viability of co-housing as an approach to have an enriching, vibrant senior lifestyle (socializing, ballroom dancing, perhaps even travel). We spent 9 months late last year putting on a 1,500 sf expansion to our house, custom designing it to fit co-housing concept. The house is now 3,000 sf with 4 bedrooms and attached bathrooms, front porch overlooking landscaped lake with fountain and large rear porch. Any retired professional senior or couple genuinely interested to explore co-housing with us and having similar interests (ballroom dancing) is most welcome to get in touch with me to explore possibilities. I would expect that both parties would want to spent time and effort getting to know each other's expectations online as a first step. Looking forward to establish an upgraded "Golden Couples" co-housing setup along the lines of TV's "Golden Girls" sitcom.
 
My husband and I are retired professionals living in a very nice sub-division in central Florida. We are in excellent health but being strategic planners have decided to look into the viability of co-housing as an approach to have an enriching, vibrant senior lifestyle (socializing, ballroom dancing, perhaps even travel). We spent 9 months late last year putting on a 1,500 sf expansion to our house, custom designing it to fit co-housing concept. The house is now 3,000 sf with 4 bedrooms and attached bathrooms, front porch overlooking landscaped lake with fountain and large rear porch. Any retired professional senior or couple genuinely interested to explore co-housing with us and having similar interests (ballroom dancing) is most welcome to get in touch with me to explore possibilities. I would expect that both parties would want to spent time and effort getting to know each other's expectations online as a first step. Looking forward to establish an upgraded "Golden Couples" co-housing setup along the lines of TV's "Golden Girls" sitcom.
I think this would be great if you can find a similar minded couple. We too live in a large house that has three apartments in it. We occasionally Airbnb the two apartments but most of the time we use it as our extended living space. If I could find like minded seniors I would consider a similar set up but we still are fairly young and haven’t decided for sure what we want to do when we retire yet. I sure do like to dream though, and I don’t think it hurts to start thinking about retirement early. I was starting to think about it in my 30’s! :)
 

Denise1952

Well-known Member
Most places including apartments and condos do not allow smoking at all...
A lot don't and thank goodness. I think the whole idea (for me) would be to live less selfishly. I've really been think a lot about this thread. I think motives are important because for example; I want to move in with others because I want to save money. That of course would be a consideration, but if it's just about money, does anyone else see what I am saying? I'd like to share my life with others, but still have my private space. Like the old boarding houses where everyone comes together at a big table for a meal. It seems impossible when I think about all it would take. But mainly, people with the same motives sounds good to me.
 
Denise for us it’s actually more about community than the money. Saving money is important too but more so the community aspect. It would take likeminded people and a lot of honesty and communication but it can be done, with the right people. And of course there’s lots of people this type of thing wouldn’t be for, and that’s fine, but the ones who like the idea from what experience I have with cohabitating with others (up to 12 people at a time, for many years) it is awesome!
 

Denise1952

Well-known Member
Yes, there would always be issues to deal with, learn to get along, accept others idiosyncrisies. It would take everyone going in with their eyes wide open. It's like me getting a dog. I really though long and hard about it and knew the good, bad and the ugly (pros and cons). I don't have unrealistic expectations, about much of anything anymore. My worst blow in life was finding out it wasn't like the fairytales or movies, lol!! But life can be good but for me, I've learned it's an inside job. I gotta run for now, and eat some lunch. It's almost 2, been online since early today ;)
 
For the co-op to be successful, it would need to be self-sufficient. Some of the communes around the country manufacture goods that they sell to support the commune... food products, I think. Maybe clothing. I forget. It's been quite a while since I read about them.

Personally, I can do woodworking. Also software development, but I'd rather work with my hands.
 

Denise1952

Well-known Member
I meant to quote you Irwin because I loved your experience and it really got me thinking of some good ways to go ;)

I like to read the bible, and for myself, I find a lot of answers. One I saw 2 days ago, was on "occupying yourself" and working with your hands. It was like a light-bulb coming on in my brain. I wonder why I get so down and it is because my body and my mind are being lazy. I think your post sounds so good and gave me the idea that each person will have gifts and talents to share, co-op sounds so good. As I get older, I feel more and more useless. Then I read or see someone much older still going and doing. I don't know for sure what my gifts and talents are but I like to cook, garden on a smaller scale, and I am really good with internet devices, software, and even some hardware.

Like not what living together can do for me, but what can I contribute ;) I am only on this track because I have lived a VERY selfish life. I have today, and hopefully tomorrow. Oh, I'm really into nutrition and outdoors exercise.
 

Marie5656

Well-known Member
Location
Batavia, NY
I am glad this thread was brought back to life. Since I started it last year, my own situation has changed. I am now in a Seniors only (over 62) apartment building. Secure building, in house maintanience etc. It is lower income housing, income based. I also pay electric /heat.
Grocery is nearby. Laundry facilities in the building. Under normal circumstances, there is a community room open for just visiting, and also worship service and some activities. So, we have the convenience of being around peers, and then to back to our own small living space. For me, ideal.
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
I am glad this thread was brought back to life. Since I started it last year, my own situation has changed. I am now in a Seniors only (over 62) apartment building. Secure building, in house maintanience etc. It is lower income housing, income based. I also pay electric /heat.
Grocery is nearby. Laundry facilities in the building. Under normal circumstances, there is a community room open for just visiting, and also worship service and some activities. So, we have the convenience of being around peers, and then to back to our own small living space. For me, ideal.
That sounds wonderful, Marie; I wish I could talk Huzz into something like that, it sounds so nice. If you don't mind, keep us posted on how things are going for you. :)
 

Denise1952

Well-known Member
I am glad this thread was brought back to life. Since I started it last year, my own situation has changed. I am now in a Seniors only (over 62) apartment building. Secure building, in house maintanience etc. It is lower income housing, income based. I also pay electric /heat.
Grocery is nearby. Laundry facilities in the building. Under normal circumstances, there is a community room open for just visiting, and also worship service and some activities. So, we have the convenience of being around peers, and then to back to our own small living space. For me, ideal.
Happy for you marie ;) I'm glad you started the thread too!
 

Gaer

"Boldness has genius, power and magic."
The first thing I did when I read this thread was design a triune shaped living quarters with a group, communal campfire/picnic area in the middle. I can picture several of them grouped together. I'm not an architect nor do I have the funds to implement it. But I think it would word succesfully for many adults.

Not ME though! I'm an individualist and like living alone. I'd much prefer isolated in a log cabin in the wilderness of Alaska.
Not that I don't like people, but I like to be alone when I write or create.
 


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