Community, Comfort, and Connection: Senior Co-Housing in Ontario
Friday Nov 17th, 2023
Created in Denmark in the 1990s, co-housing is gaining traction in Ontario as seniors seek ways to live independently and share responsibilities and costs while developing strong social connections and building a circle of support as they age. From coast to coast, co-housing developments are cropping up, as well as private ventures, providing seniors with more choices than ever before to live healthy, engaged and creative lives with like-minded individuals.
What is Co-Housing?
According to the Canadian Co-housing Network, co-housing (or co-living) is an intentionally cooperative neighbourhood where common facilities are shared. Yet, each household owns their home and has ample privacy and maximum control over their involvement. This living arrangement focuses on aging well for seniors while in a community presence. Residents design and manage themselves, relying on neighbourly mutual support (co-care) and a hired resident caregiver if required. Communities are designed for physical accessibility and financial, environmental, and social sustainability.
What are the Benefits of Senior Co-Housing?
Studies suggest that seniors who opt for a co-housing arrangement can age in place for ten years longer versus living in a conventional house. This is an incredible benefit to co-housing, which is also associated with other key benefits:
Homeownership or renting a place of one’s own comes with mounting costs, especially in major markets like Toronto or Mississauga. Co-housing is an option that maintains the functionality of a single-family home or private apartment but at a more affordable cost since expenses are shared. Many boomers opt to sell their homes, downsize into smaller co-housing units and utilize the equity to support their golden years.
Many seniors who live in a co-housing report significant cost of living savings. Fixed expenses, such as utilities, property taxes and maintenance costs, are lower since they are shared with inhabitants, plus co-housing units are smaller than standard single-family homes. There are also savings for variable expenses, like food, since some co-housing arrangements share mealtime responsibilities and costs.
Aging in Place
Co-housing developments are designed to allow owners to age in place and often follow universal design concepts that enhance day-to-day life no matter a person’s ability. This includes large bathrooms with curbless showers or widened doorways that can accommodate mobility aids. As a person’s needs change, universal design is quick to adapt.
Quality of Life
One of the most essential benefits of senior co-living is a person’s quality of life. This living arrangement staves loneliness and isolation, providing community and belonging. Co-housing owners can engage with each other, help one another and be a strong support network on a genuinely personal level while becoming an extension of family as they carry out daily life together.
Reduced Need for Resources
Having help from other members of a co-housing community gives seniors easy access to the daily resources they need without having to rely on outside organizations, like meal or companion services. Living in a community setting also has health and safety benefits, allowing seniors to live independently for longer.
Explore Your Senior Living Options
If you or a loved one are curious about co-housing options in Ontario or want to learn more about the benefits of senior co-living, please contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative and Lifestyle55+ Affiliate at Keller Williams Realty Associates, Brokerage. As a Lifestyle55+ Affiliate, I work with my mature buyers and sellers to help them create a lifestyle that’s not only sustainable but caterers to their unique needs. You have options – let’s explore them together.