Elder Cohousing—An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

In the US, a quiet grassroots impulse to reject the common options for housing for older people—retirement homes, nursing homes, and so on, has been growing over the last decades. People are drawn to the idea of an old-fashioned, egalitarian neighborhood where neighbors help one another through the minor challenges of everyday life, and support one another through the major ones. Older adults like the word “active lifestyle” better when it refers to living in a way that connects to the wider community where these elders still have roots and history. Contrary to some people’s impressions that age-targeted cohousing is a “senior ghetto,” these elders believe living in close proximity with others in the same age range and with similar values is a life-enhancing choice. This article documents the development of senior cohousing in the US up to 2006.