Baby Boomers Are Moving Into Communal Housing for a Surprising Reason

June 5, 2023 at 10:27 p.m.

Last week I read an article by Mia Williams entitled, Baby Boomers Are Moving Into Communal Housing for a Surprising Reason. 

Williams’ surprising reason isn’t so surprising after all. Many older adults are considering communal housing for the sense of belonging and community spirit it provides.

What may be surprising is that growing numbers of seniors are looking at more than retirement communities when considering community living.  

Whether in a traditional senior living community or some newer models, one big element of community living is the ease of joining a group and engaging in activities with other people. “As people age, they often become more isolated. Life becomes lonely, whether because they’ve lost their partner or find it physically challenging to get out,” writes Williams. Community living offers a built-in social life.

Community living also offers a sense of safety and security. A sense of vulnerability is a common feeling as we age. “Although they may cherish having their own space and familiar surroundings, they also recognize the importance of having others close by in case they need help.”  Someone is always nearby for help and support.

While communal living for seniors typically means moving into a retirement community, this article explores some other options for older adults.

Some seniors are opting for “intentional communities,” or cohousing, which are communities designed around specific interests, such as “green living.” Some are organized for older adults, most are multigenerational communities.

Williams writes about a retirement-age couple who stumbled upon an intentional “commons” experience for retirees that was perfect for them. People purchase their own home within the community in a village style setting but are also able to use the communal features of the property. This model can provide privacy but fosters a solid sense of community.

Williams also explores the idea of going back to your young adult phase when you had roommates. It’s a new trend for some older people. She tells the story of three long-time friends, now retired, who bought a house together. She also looked at a group of women from China who created communal living space for themselves by pooling their money to buy a large property. The plan took about 20 years to complete, but the friends are now living in “serenity,” writes Williams. Having clear rules, spelling out expectations, and involving an attorney would seem like a must in these unique situations.  

Finding the right community. It’s important to take the time to know what is important to you when considering communal living. How much privacy do you require? Can you adhere to community obligations and requirements? Does the financing work for you?

The easier path may be a traditional retirement community, but perhaps a more unique option is a better fit. Research is the first step, advises Williams.

Read the article here: Baby Boomers Are Moving Into Communal Housing For a Surprising Reason 

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