All Age and Senior cohousing

Cohousing is when a group of people decide they share an interest or an ethos and that they want to live as a intentional community. All age is so called because it is for all the ages that want to be part of the project. Senior cohousing is for those over a certian age such as 55years or older. Each has advanteages and disadvantages, `All Age', means children and the common house being used for child care. This may mean that those whose hearing is not so good or who use hearing aids can't hear what some-one is saying because of the background noise if they are in the common house at the same time. The common house space tends to be needed for families and it can be more difficult to get a chance for older folk to have use of the area for social and sharing skills type groups than if it was a Senior cohousing group. I just use this as an example and All Age communities when designing their common house may decide to put the play room away from the main social sitting place to reduce the noise.

The idea of cohousing is new to Scotland but there are two projects that hope to be Senior cohousing groups, Vivarium in Fife, and Penington CoHousing in Glasgow. Both of us are working with Housing Associations to try to get our projects built. We both would like to offer rented and for sale properties but we can't use  the social rented legalislation to get the rented housing built because we need to meet those who wish to join the community to see if they understand what the commitments are, and that they agree with our ethos, which for Penington CoHousing is to be a good neighbour to each other, Penington requires 2 to 4 hours of work a week for the community from it's members. They also need to check if they would like living in a community with us. Those who live in the community are involved in managing and running the community. There is no warden, the residents are the management and the workers. 

Why the contribution is important

When people lived in an area for a long time and knew their neighbours then a community spirit developed which meant that people noticed if some-one was ill or unhappy, or had a life event happening. This all disappeared with the rehousing and moving to were a job was, that has occured in the last fifty years. Cohousing aims to give that community spirit back. This allows those who are older peace of mind that some-one will check if they don't pull back the curtians in the morning. Even if some-one has poor mobility they can sit at their front door or in the common house and still be in touch with others. You know your neighbours before you move in. This enables those in a senior cohousing to stay in their home longer because they can get help with shopping, or getting prescriptions etc, from their neighbours. Cohousing started in the Netherlands and has spread to Scandanavia, Germany, the US and Canada. No-one wants to be a burden on their family and cohousing allows the health and social services to be used less because of the help of the community. Penington Cohousing also wants to have well insulated homes, for lower heating bills, and Lifetime design so that there are no stairs without a lift, and bathrooms designed for ease of use if you have a walking aid or a wheelchair.

In England they use long term leases so that the members cannot resell or re-rent on the open market, the properties must go to some-one that is a member of the community from their waiting list. Only Housing Associations can do this in Scotland. Senior cohousing has to be offered as an attractive alternative for those who are thinking of downsizing when their children have left home.  

by gocohousing on October 30, 2015 at 01:45PM

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