What is a Senior-Friendly Cohousing Community?

When talking about “Aging in Community” I often refer to a senior-friendly cohousing community. Please don’t confuse the term senior-friendly with senior-only. Senior-friendly can refer to either multi-generational or seniors only communities. They both modify the cohousing model to create physical and social environments that allow people to flourish as they get older.

A senior-friendly cohousing community is proactively designed to support aging in community and some level of co-care for each other. The grounds and buildings incorporate universal design. The common house can accommodate a caregiver as required. And, equally important, the hard conversations about issues of aging are taking place, perhaps a committee is formed, and the community bylaws can easily adapt to the changing needs and abilities of community members regardless of their age or circumstance.

Senior-friendly communities use the concepts of universal design to make their communities safe and accessible for everyone – the elderly and the very young, those with physical and other challenges, short people, tall people, and everyone in between. In the design world visitable and lifespan elements are examples of a design philosophy call “inclusive design” (often referred to as “universal design”). Universal design is a gift to the elderly and to people with physical challenges allowing them to stay in their community and living independently for as long as possible.

Join us at the 2016 Aging Better Together Conference in Salt Lake City, May 20-21, to learn how to transform an existing community into a senior-friendly superstar or how to design a new community for the lifespan of all who will live there. The conference provides over 30 breakout sessions and three featured keynote presentations to guide you in this journey. Experts in cohousing, successful aging, and community founders will share their knowledge and experiences on everything from how to start a new community to end of life care in an existing one.

I hope to see you there.

To learn more about the conference visit www.cohousing.org/2016aging.

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