It was not so long ago that the mantra for those facing decisions about where to live in one’s advanced years was “age in place.” Today, however, the mantra has changed from aging in place to aging in a community of your own choosing.
Credit for this trend is given to the Boomers who have never been known to enter a next phase of aging quietly. There are several books devoted to providing guidance if this is something you are interested in finding out more about. One example is Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for Your Later Years, written by Marianne Kilkenny. Ms. Kilkenny is also the founder of Women for Living in Community which spearheads the notion of intentional communities which can run a gamut from shared homes to cohousing communities and affinity communities. Another example is With A Little Help From My Friends, written by Beth Baker, a journalist who tells the story in this book “of people devising innovative ways to live as they approach retirement, options that ensure they are surrounded by a circle of friends, family, and neighbors.”
Leaders in the cohousing movement are husband and wife architect team Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant who own The Cohousing Company, a full-service architectural firm credited with bringing the cohousing concept to the U.S. They are also the architects of the first cohousing community built in the United States: Muir Commons in Davis, California. The Cohousing Company not only provides architectural services, but it also offers workshops for cohousing groups to help determine the feasibility of a site, establish design priorities, build group consensus, determine what the community needs in a common house, and overall plan for project success. Books on this topic are available at their website.
Affinity or niche living communities cater to people with common interests or backgrounds, including ethnicity. Examples of affinity communities are those based on sexual orientation, university affiliation, Chinese American background, and Indian American background to name just a very few.
As you can see, and in the words of recent AARP cover boy Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing.