Re: USA Today Article on Silver Sage and Senior Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 16:36:39 -0700 (PDT)

On May 8, 2009, at 2:57 PM, Bob Morrison wrote:

I think part of the problem is that senior cohousing is drawing from
a smaller demographic than "regular" cohousing is. Regular cohousing draws people from ages 0-18 and 20-85 (there are few people in their 20s who live in cohousing). Senior cohousing draws people from age 55 up. It makes sense that if you draw from a smaller demographic, it's harder to reach critical
mass with a group.

Actually, I think the figures are harder to calculate than that. In each case, cohousing groups are filling houses or units. One person can do that. When we moved in, we had many singles in our large units and more than on person in the smallest.

So the issue is how many housing units do you need to reach the break even point on construction. Then how you fill those units.

People from 30-80 buy units in general cohousing, and people 55-80 buy units in senior cohousing. But one can argue that more people 55-80 can afford to buy a unit than those in the 30-40 age group.

People in the 55-80 age group are also more likely to be ready to move in order to downsize.

Cohousing isn't as attractive to those who are happy living where they are and are not planning lifestyle changes. 8 of our 43 units were sold to people who were planning on having or adopting children and wanted community support since 5 were single parents. They were ready to move.

The 55 age limitation on communities who can legally "discriminate against children" generally allows spouses who are not yet 55 to move in. So the community may include people younger than 55.

It's an issue that I think can only be determined when actually marketing the two communities.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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