When the retirement years of our life cross our mind, living alone with a home health care aid or nursing homes are not the first thing that comes to our mind and are not the things we like. No matter how much we don’t think about it, a time might come where our family will be forced to make a decision to move us in a nursing home.
But we are in luck, because slowly the world is evolving, and the nursing homes might be in the past when our time of retirement years will come. We should all be thanking and looking forward to “senior cohousing”.
What is Senior Cohousing?
In the early 1960s in Denmark, firstly were created the senior cohousing neighborhoods, and then later in the late 1980s they were brought to North America.The senior cohousing has taken its popularity and reputation in these few years, because of the boomer generation that wants to live in a more desirable alternative arrangements.
The cohousing communities actually are offering every senior a space of their own, and a lot more privacy to enjoy, which is usually their own apartment or house, while they can also enjoy some shared spaces with other seniors as well.
Actually the communities are simple, seniors are living in their own private space, but they are all together and sharing more things and making more friends, which is very interesting for them. They share things like TV rooms, garden, fitness center, library, dining area, and a lot more!
A greater Alternative for Seniors
For the ones that want to enjoy in their senior years, and are looking for a lot more privacy and comfort, but also make new friends at the same time and not be alone, they have the following advantages:
1. A Real Community
This is a huge benefit for the seniors, because they want to make friends and stay near them, they also have some activities that make them share more time together. The seniors who are living on their own have an increased risk of suffering from loneliness, but this community makes that risk disappear.
2. Greater Quality of Life (Emotionally & Mentally)
Seniors living in nursing homes might suffer from depression, and each one of them is scared and they feel fear because they see the nursing homes as their final destination before their death. A nursing home can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are the main causes for poor health in seniors.
3. More Affordable
It costs a lot less than assisted living or a nursing home, because all the resources are shared with everybody. The concept of sharing in the senior cohousing is very helpful for them, especially for the ones with a lower financial status.
4. More Privacy
It is not like in the assisted living, where seniors are together with residents in close quarters, the senior cohousing communities are offering them a private space, actually their own apartment or a house.
It is a lot safer than to live alone, because a senior falling town at home and being stuck for hours is a very big concern. But in these communities, the neighbors that live next to your or the ones that notice you every day, will also notice that they didn’t see you in the morning or in the afternoon, so they will look for you.
6. You have a Say
For each senior that wants to move in the cohousing communities, he or she, will be able to look at the details of the way the community works, and about the adjustments that they can make. Each senior in the community has a voice.
There are some downsides when you look at the things in general. For example, a senior living with assistance would receive a lot more care than a senior living in a cohousing community.
But there are some residents in the community that would take care of each other, for example there was a woman named Margaret Critchlow and she was 70 at the time when she had a hip replacement surgery, and she reported:
“When I arrived home from the hospital, the neighbors that were in the area made things a lot easier for me and my husband until i fully recovered, they helped us by preparing our every meal.”
But, that was our case and not every neighbor would offer us the same help and care. Therefore for seniors who need that care every day, and they are living in a cohousing community, then they must hire somebody that will visit them every day and help them with their daily tasks.
How do Senior Cohousing compares to Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes have some advantages, such as access to trained physicians all the time. But even though that it has these advantages, people would prefer living in cohousing communities, because of the fear they feel while in a nursing home.
There are some disadvantages of nursing homes, such as:
- Farther distances -- Separated from family members, far away from the place you once lived.
- Poor Food Quality -- Eating canned fruits, frozen veggies, and processed meats. Unable to purchase groceries, which is one of the most important things for seniors.
- Mean Roommates -- Many seniors are unable to share a room because they cannot tolerate another roommate, or they are being abused. Sometimes the other roommate might be abusing them verbally or physically, and sometimes they need more privacy.
- Loss of Independence -- Some seniors cannot change their schedule and take the nursing home schedule as their new one, so they feel the lack of freedom.
- Likelihood of Low-Level Care -- Many studies have shown that 90% of the nursing homes are understaffed, so that increases the risk of accidents, and also causes low supervision.
- Poor Emotional & Mental Health -- Seniors might feel depressed in these facilities, because of the change from a comfortable family and home, into a place like the nursing homes, can cause isolation, loneliness and the feeling of loss.
- Astronomical Cost -- Nursing homes are more expensive for the long-term care. A room costs $307 in California in the nursing homes, so that costs $112,000 a year, and if you don’t have any savings for your senior years than you will have a problem.
Finding a Senior Cohousing Community
If you think that the best choice for you is a Senior Cohousing Community, than look for the best ones on the internet, book up your place, be quick because more and more people are booking their place.
The National Council on Aging, came up with the fact that the seniors are desiring for connectedness. In order for us to be happy in the golden years of our life, we need to keep the sense of independence and purpose. These communities really do exist, and they are the best alternative according to many researches, because they are giving seniors the opportunity to stay connected!