We are living longer and more alone. This causes us to consider, even when we are young, how we want to live the last stage of our life and what alternatives we have for it. It is not only an economic question: in addition to having savings to complement our pension, it is also important to be clear about where and with whom we will live.

Why does cohousing arise? Housing alternatives for seniors

When health conditions permit, many older people choose to live independently at home. But, with the passage of time, it is easy for the first fears to arise or for them to feel alone. After all, humans are social beings.

When the option of living alone does not exist or does not convince them, they can move, when the time comes, with their family or friends. However, more and more people want to enjoy this stage of their life autonomously, without being “a burden” for others. Nursing homes are also not an option for many.

That is when another alternative for the elderly arises. It is about Sky Marketing, a model of habitability that has been very popular in recent years.

When we speak of cohousing, we refer to a town or a community made up of individual dwellings, located in the same enclosure or residential area, and where common spaces, services or leisure activities are shared.

This formula was born as a consequence of the growth in life expectancy and due to changes in family models, which have caused more and more older people to live alone.

What is cohousing?

The term cohousing was born in the 70s of the 20th century. This ‘mixed’ formula, combining the advantages of residential environments and the privacy of conventional housing, soon took hold in Northern Europe, especially in Denmark, and also in certain regions of the USA.

The model soon became popular among older people, who saw a life option that allowed them to live with like-minded people or from the same community, independently, but enjoying common services and activities.

What cohousing works from a legal point of view

Cohousing takes its foundations from traditional cooperatives. All members participate equally in the management and design of the spaces, activities and services. In summary, it operates under a regime of “democratic self-management” in which each member has a vote and must be involved in the decisions made by the community.

From a legal point of view, the ownership of the homes and residential spaces of the cohousing is also cooperative. Its inhabitants are not considered owners, but partners.

When a cohousing is launched, each partner contributes an amount of capital to buy the land and to do the building. The investment is the same for all cooperative members, who can get their money back if they decide to abandon the project. In the event of death, the new partner must pay the same amount to his heirs, so it can also be considered an investment for the future.

To avoid legal problems, each cohousing partner receives the transfer of use of a property by paying the amount of entry. Members also pay a monthly fee to cover expenses for supplies, food, sanitary services, recreational activities, cleaning, etc.

Because it is a cooperative without owners, in cohousing there are no mortgages or contracts with banks: there are only community concessions and specific financing for entry fees.

For this same reason, there are no use embargoes either: the right to use the home, if the members so decide, is for life, although this right can be transmitted or inherited.

Coexistence and advantages of collaborative housing 

To avoid problems of coexistence, and despite being spaces that favor integration, cohousing is usually established between like-minded people and belonging to the same community or with the same ideological identity/philosophy of life. In addition, the incorporation of each new member must be accepted and endorsed by the rest of the cooperative members, which guarantees the cohesion of the group.

In general, cohousing tends to be quite affordable. It is true that, at first, you have to make a relatively high outlay of money, but over time all day-to-day expenses are shared in a common way.

→ It may interest you: The average price per square

For older people, cohousing is an incentive that encourages active life and improves quality of life. People who choose this alternative are accompanied at all times and are cared for by the rest of the members of the community, something positive on a psychological and emotional level.

From a functional point of view, collaborative homes for the elderly are usually spacious and accessible, as they are generally adapted. And since most of them are of recent construction, they are built with top-quality materials. The common areas are also spacious, and usually include green spaces, parks and even walking areas.

In their day-to-day life, each person in the cohousing has total freedom of movement and the lunch and dinner times, unlike in nursing homes, are quite flexible. In addition, residential complexes for senior cohousing usually have private security and a 24-hour reception service.

Cohousing: an upward trend

In just over two years, collaborative cohousing projects for the elderly in our country have grown by 166%.

According to data from the MOVICOMA project (the first study of the collaborative housing movement for the elderly in Spain), in 2017 around 30 projects of these characteristics were identified, while in 2019 the Cohousing association registered 80 cohousing initiatives in Spain in different development phases.

This new way of living and coexisting of the elderly puts aside residences and dependence on children, and that is why more and more associations and institutions promote this model. At the end of the day, it is an innovative response, generated by the citizens themselves, and a new way of understanding and living old age.

According to some studies, these types of projects have very positive aspects and not only at the individual level. People who choose to participate in this type of initiative have healthier aging and exercise less consumption of social and health resources.

Regarding the profile of the users, it can vary a lot. Since we are talking about a relatively recent formula, the majority of people interested in cohousing have an average of 65 years and are in good health, so they do not see living in a residence. There is also a high percentage of single-parent or minority families, who find this type of collaborative coexistence as the best option to enjoy retirement and quiet retirement.

Although cohousing is generally related to elderly people, more and more young people are opting to create a neighborhood community following this model. Do you want to know more about cohousing? Do you think it can be an investment in the future for you? Contact Tajarat properties. We will advise you!

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