In 2001 a group of senior citizens in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood started the country’s first village. They desired to stay in their homes while also receiving help from their community when they needed it.
The entire community was designed around providing social connections and practical assistance when needed. This idea has quickly spread throughout the United States, and now there are roughly 200+ villages. And many more are currently in development.
Aging In Place Communities: Models and Variations
While there are several different aging in place community models, all of them somewhat come from the same scenario: older communities whose homeowners have a desire to stay in their homes with minimal assistance. The most commonly assisted tasks by staff or volunteers include rides to doctor’s appointments or other places, tree trimming, lawn care, and light chores.
Some villages offer paid memberships or classes that they can take with their peers. Things like art, music, and games are often organized by someone who works closely with the group. Often the membership to live with the community will cover these expenses. A village like this will allow the elderly individuals living there to get out of their home far more than they would if they had to live in an apartment or similar environment.
Age-Friendly Housing Options
There are a number of options related to housing arrangements with aging in place communities and villages. Each of the options will obviously offer a different level of involvement and opportunity for the community members living within the home. In some cases, the residents may choose to live alone or with their spouse, but many will find it more appealing to live with a few different community members. Here are some of the most common options.
Cohousing doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a specific reason for a group of people to live together. Instead, it is most often simply a shared interest in the specific living space. Cohousing does not include shared property ownership. Each individual purchases an apartment, townhome, or even single-family home containing everything that would be deemed normal. The difference is that every resident would be linked to some type of shared space such as a yard, garden, common room, dining area, or kitchen. The intent of this shared space is to offer the community and belonging to the residents that live in close proximity to each other. Ultimately leading residents to have the opportunity to live independently but not alone. It’s an opportunity to have a wonderful tight-knit community with neighbors who are also peers.
House sharing follows the name to a T. It’s the process of making arrangements to have people live within your home and share it with you. In some cases, this could be a friend, family member, or even renter. That person or persons who move in will help with expenses, chores, and sometimes contribute in the form of a relationship.
While this can sometimes be a paid relationship, it’s a symbiotic relationship where the person living in residence with the older adult is granted a free place to live for the help they offer. In many cases, this is a great arrangement to make for both parties benefit.
Housing cooperatives aren’t always related specifically to older adults and, in many cases, have a wide range of ages present at the residence. At these member-owned, resident-governed nonprofit communities, a co-op is formed. Through a voting process, a board is created that will help to decide what services are provided and, in some cases, will have the ability to approve the rights of new home buyers.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Community
In communities that naturally grow older as time goes on, a network can be created to help support older adults’ needs in the area. When the community works together, each person will be able to safely and comfortably age in place.
Niche Retirement Communities
Retirement communities are very popular among 55-plus adults. In many cases, the community will have a fee to live in it, and that fee will be specifically used to cover the cost of amenities. These amenities could include a pool, community rooms, a fitness center, yard work, maintenance, and other similar things.
A “niche” or “affinity” retirement community is one where residents will share a common interest or identity. The range of these interests or identities is almost endless.
The community that we talked about at the very beginning of this post would be considered a village. It’s a place where paid staff work within a neighborhood-type community to offer amenities to residents that want to continue living on their own in single-family homes.
The members are required to pay annual dues to live within the community to pay for the staff and amenities provided.
Sustainable communities are important for those who want to live in communities like this or that are looking to save money on housing by lowering their energy costs. At Sustainable 9, it’s always our goal to ensure that homes are built to list and built with sustainable products that work efficiently. After all, your home is an investment, and it should perform like one.