Are You a Good Fit for a Cohousing Community?

Cohousing neighborhoods are intentionally designed to make connecting with your neighbors easy.

In my last blog, I wrote about five personal traits that, if you have most or all of them, you’re probably a good fit for a Golden Girls-like home. However, living in a house where you share a kitchen, living room and dining space is for some too close for comfort.

If you’re wanting more community in your living arrangement as you look at the years ahead, but need more personal space than living in a shared house, an intentional neighborhood may be the right choice for you.

In this blog, I’ll discuss cohousing neighborhoods. In Cohousing communities residents own their own home and share common spaces and resources. Interestingly, these intentional communities are created by the future resident group who meet each other and work together to decide about the physical design and social agreements of the neighborhood. In many cases, future residents become friends by the time they move-in into the neighborhood.

These collaborative communities are typically between 25 to 35 households, and are home to more than 6,000 people in North America. They are popular because they provide a healthy balance between privacy and community. I know many people who live in cohousing who come from a range of backgrounds, ages and economic situations. They consistently love the lifestyle which they describe as safe, nurturing and FUN.

Spontaneous social gatherings are frequent in cohousing. Kathryn McCamant, one of the co-founders of the Cohousing movement and co-author of the book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, says:
“I know I live in a community, because on Friday afternoons, it sometimes takes me 45 minutes, two drinks, and three conversations to get from the street to my front door.’

According to the Cohousing Association of the U.S., cohousing communities have six defining characteristics:
1. Participatory process;
2. Neighborhood design;
3. Common facilities;
4. Resident management;
5. Shared leadership and decision-making;
6. No shared community economy.

This lifestyle has many benefits for Boomers. Residents enjoy an intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive environment ideal for aging at home in a non-institutional setting. Cohousing residents have privacy when they’re in their private home, and community when they venture outside to the shared common spaces, including common dinners several times a week in the community’s well-used club house or “Common House.”
One of the newer trends in cohousing are elder/senior cohousing neighborhoods designed with Universal Design features to accommodate residents to age comfortably in their homes.

Please contact me if you want to know more about this multi-generational or senior cohousing trend or cohousing in general. In my next blog, I’ll share the characteristics that are most important for living in these socially and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.


  1. I like my “cohousing community” – it’s a neighborhood designed for 55+. We have our own homes but a community center with lots of opportunities to have the comfort of other people and activities if we feel the need. It’s not fancy but it’s pretty and comfortable. I don’t think I would ever want to live in any other kind of community. I’m 58 and husband is 65. I’m a blogger and writer, golfer and tech fanatic. I teach computer and social networking classes when not providing childcare for my grandkids while parents work. Life is rich, but if I were suddenly stricken by loss or illness, I would feel so safe and comfortable here at that point, too. Also, my mother (87 next Saturday) lives here, 4 blocks from me. She moved in a year ago and is making lots of friends. Life is good!

    • Thanks Lynne. Sounds like you have much in place for your future in you living arrangement with family around and a rich and fulfilling career. Not all Boomers have thought this out as well as you have. Bravo to you!


  1. […] last week’s blog, I discussed the six defining characteristics of cohousing neighborhoods which combine personal […]

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