NEW OLEAR BANNERThe concept of co-housing is an interesting one that made its way to the United States from Denmark in the early 1980s. Basically, co-housing describes a community of 25 to 35 households — either detached or adjoining — with a shared common house, a walkable environment and a stimulating social atmosphere.

The website www.cohousing.org offers a clearer definition: Co-housing communities are intentional, collaborative neighborhoods created with a little ingenuity. They bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living. That means residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods, and share common facilities and good connections with neighbors. All in all, they stand as innovative and sustainable answers to today’s environmental and social problems.

Today across our country, there are currently 163 established communities, 17 building and 130 “forming.” Of the 130 forming groups, 30 have already acquired land for development. New York, for example, is home to four established co-housing communities, with three locations in Ithaca and one in Saugerties, and several more in the formation process.

Not just a solution for seniors, many co-housing communities are being formed by proactive individuals in their fifties who see the benefit in this type of living as they prepare to enter their golden years.

Mutual living situations such as co-housing communities will not only aid those growing older gracefully, but also allow for maximizing resources through collective management of expenses and responsibilities. In a nutshell, it’s nice to know that we have options as we age.