As needs and wants shift, older Americans are turning to cohousing

Seniors who have chosen to live in cohousing communities share why they took that route in a Business Insider story

A senior cohousing community in Port Townsend, Washington — roughly 60 miles northwest of Seattle — was recently highlighted in a Business Insider story about how older Americans are increasingly turning to cohousing to meet their housing needs and desires for community.

Quimper Village, a self-governing senior co-housing community geared toward residents aged 55 or older, is made up of about 28 homes in total. The Salmons, one of the couples profiled in the story, purchased their 1,300-square-foot home in the community for about $400,000.

Before moving to Quimper Village, the Salmons said they never felt like part of their community.

“We basically never saw our neighbors,” Carolyn Salmon told the outlet. “We had a little group that would get together about once a month for dinner, but other than that we had no other real contact with them.”

Senior cohousing communities like Quimper Village are part of a trend in which seniors turn toward other seniors to address important issues such as community and affordability.

In Quimper Village, the Salmons and other residents function more as a co-op than a retirement community. To create Quimper Village, the group purchased the land and then helped finance the construction of the community.

Quimper Village residents also work “teams” to handle the day in and day out affairs of the community, from gardening to financial planning. Residents also manage the communities amenities, which include a bocce court and an art studio.

By pooling their resources together, members of Quimper Village are creating a sense of community with others who are part of their generation while addressing a lack of traditional senior housing options in their area.

“Maintaining community and close relationships isn’t always easy to do,” Salmon told Business Insider. “But this place gives us the ability to drive less and do the things that build friendships.”

The reverse mortgage industry also plays a part in this trend. In 2018, Finance of America Reverse (FAR) entered into a partnership with senior homesharing platform Silvernest in conjunction with a rebranding initiative to address housing and cohabitation or homesharing needs for seniors.

“We see home sharing as both an alternative to a reverse mortgage and also a complement,” FAR President Kristen Sieffert told RMD shortly after the partnership was announced. “We’re also seeing people who are not our customers but who are participating in home sharing benefit from information about other ways they can leverage their home to get the most out of retirement.”

Read the story on Quimper Village at Business Insider.

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