Is Co-Living a Lifestyle You Could Embrace in Your 60s?
Co-living is a new way of looking at independent living in a community. This is a new lifestyle of communal houses created and run by their residents.
Each person or household has a self-contained private home, and shares some community cooking and leisure spaces. The point of creating a co-living (or co-housing) space is to establish community interaction while keeping and respecting individual privacy.
So, in a co-housing scenario, women from our Sixty and Me community could enjoy the freedom of living independently but be among friends who look out for each other. It is a lifestyle for all ages.
As housing becomes more expensive and scarce, co-living is taking off in a big way all around the world. Is this a lifestyle that appeals to you?
Have you ever thought how cool it would be to just buy a big house and fill it with a group of friends? It would be like creating a modern-day beguine. If this idea intrigues you, here are some initiatives that you may want to explore.
There is a group called Co-Housing in the UK that has worked on a few co-living projects. They are spearheading negotiations, having conversations with developers and coordinating financing, legal and project management requirements.
At present, they are a group more specifically focused on creating co-housing options for older women who have the resources to purchase a house, or part of a house. This model requires a significant financial investment.
In London there is a rental co-living space called The Collective. It is a new build and a specifically designed unique concept. It is home to 500 people enjoying the co-living lifestyle.
Although it is geared for young working people in London, I am sure women of all ages could apply. Or build their own!
The roughly 115 co-housing communities in the United States include nearly 2,700 households and are distributed across 23 states.
This AARP article highlights these statistics. It reminds us that co-living in the United States might not be an affordable option since most developers are working on a sales model. Women are looking to downsize and after 60 most cannot get a mortgage.
The article points out that new co-housing groups encounter difficulties getting investment money. Here is a link to the co-housing group in the United States that has a formal organization website. The initiative is great, but it will take time.
In Australia, author Chris Riedy refers to research in New South Wales that is useful for the conversation about co-housing in general. He highlights that the benefits of co-living are social interaction, environmental sustainability and accessible design for people with mobility issues.
Because of its flexibility, co-housing can provide an attractive housing option for seniors. He also reminds us of the challenges – funding, subsidized pricing and social acceptance of the whole idea.
In France, this new kind of house-sharing is called the Baba Yaga way. The movement was inspired by a group of French women 15 years ago.
They established a self-governed co-housing community where they could live independently in a supportive and highly engaged setting in their senior years. Here is a link to some other French co-living spaces.
In Canada, there is a co-living organization based on the French Baba Yaga model and focused on social consciousness. There is also a co-housing group in Canada working to develop this way of living in community.
Tiny House Movement
If you are looking to downsize but don’t want to live in a small block apartment, the tiny house movement might be for you. These communities of people who live in very small houses have become very popular over the years.
They are unique, and inexpensive to position in a community setting. Here are 15 locations, all in the United States.
Co-Living for Nomads
On the recent Nomad Cruise I took with a group of digital nomads, the topic of co-living came up many times. If your lifestyle is to seek freedom and to travel and work on the go, the idea of an apartment or house with a mortgage makes no sense.
They would rather stay in a place in every location they visit. Their needs are simple. Food, internet, a comfortable and safe living space and a monthly rent that includes all expenses. A bit like a college dorm for grown-ups.
All around the world, a new phenomenon is emerging. More millennial workers are finding living alone in big cities financially restrictive. So many different co-living spaces are emerging for them.
Here people can rent a small private space with access to social gathering points. Some examples like CoWoLi offer Co-Working and Co-Living homes for digital nomads. There is no reason an older woman could not take advantage of their service.
Roam is a network of global co-living spaces where you can stay as you travel. You pay one monthly rent and can then stay in any of their locations in Bali, London, Miami, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Roam is a true co-living, co-working space very focused on meeting the young entrepreneurial traveller who is only staying in one place for one month or less.
Every day, there is a new article published on the topic of co-living and co-housing. New developments are popping up everywhere!
Many of the projects are being introduced exclusively for millennial workers, and perhaps it’s time for older women to follow the Baba Yaga model and start further conversations with developers and exploring government funding options. Here is one more list of up and coming co-living locations.
There is great site I just discovered called CoLiving that offers a global directly of co-living spaces.
Co-living is a topic that will not go away, and given the shortage of housing options for an aging population, perhaps one day, as individuals, we all will be home-less.
Are you interested in finding a co-living opportunity? Would you prefer to live in shared accommodation with just older women or with a mix of ages? Please share your opinion – or experience – of co-living in the comments below.