Re: senior vs. multigen
From: Cohousing (
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 06:49:22 -0800 (PST)
Here at Raleigh Cohousing, a forming senior cohousing group for the past year, 
we have vacillated back and forth between senior and multigenerational. There 
are pros and cons of both which are significant. We have lost prospective 
members because they do not want to live in a senior only coho. Bottom line so 
far though is that although we would entertain younger households with 
children, we are not attracting them, nor are we marketing to them, nor do we 
know how to market to them. If a younger family wanted to spearhead recruiting 
young families we would be more comfortable with building two coho communities 
side by side. In fact, the land we have found and are in the process of buying 
could support two cohos very comfortably—15 acres. We could share the same 
common house but not necessarily. 

We also came up with the vision of building one “dual” coho of say 30 
households and having a “senior wing” on one side of the common house with 15 
all small one level homes and a “family wing” on the other side with 15 larger 
multilevel homes. We brought that idea up with our development consultant Katie 
McCamant. With her many years of wisdom in building cohos, she advised that it 
most likely would not work as we envisioned it—the families becoming empty 
nesters and moving over to the senior side as seniors left or expired. There is 
no way to regulate who buys what house. Maybe a young couple without children 
would want a small house. Maybe a senior couple would want a larger house. It 
would eventually be mixed up. I think she is right. So we have abandoned that 

So for the time being we have reverted back to concentrating on being a senior 
coho with no families with young children. No age limit set. There may be 
couples or individuals in their 30s and 40s who don’t plan to have families 
that could join us if they choose to. Right now in our 6 households we range in 
age from 57 yo 76. We are  moving forward with the intention of building a coho 
that will accommodate our aging and would love to sell our extra acreage to a 
group wanting to form a multigenerational coho and be neighbors. 

Kayelily <> 

> On Feb 24, 2017, at 5:44 PM, Susan Elster < [at]> wrote:
> We are a group of about 20 households (so far) in Israel in the midst of a
> site search for what will be the first Israeli cohousing community. We
> began, explicitly, as a community of folks who wanted to age in an
> intentional community, after dismissing current approaches to supporting
> elders as unacceptable. We've benefitted enormously from the many cohousing
> resources and knowledge-sharing available via (thank you!) and
> wanted to consult with as many of you as possible about our current
> conundrum. 
> Right now we range in age from around 55 to 72. As we continue to recruit
> people to reach our target of 30-35 households, we are struggling with the
> question of whether to remain a seniors-only community or to invite younger
> people to join us, including families with young children. There are
> differences of opinion on the wisdom of both approaches. Issues range from
> concern about whether, in multi-gen communities, resources would tend to
> flow toward children, leaving senior adults without needed services,
> supports and amenities - to concerns about whether a seniors-only community
> can be sustainable over time as members age in place (e.g., will younger
> seniors continue to move in as the community's average age increases? How
> challenging is community management for aging members?). There are also more
> subjective preferences around living in mixed vs. seniors-only communities
> (e.g., from worries that children and serenity don't mix to not wanting to
> live in an 'old age home').
> We recognize that seniors-only communities are relatively new and that
> perhaps some of our questions are not, as yet, answerable, but we'd be
> grateful for any and all experiences, opinions, strategies for addressing
> issues around aging in cohousing, and words of wisdom from those of you
> living in both multi-gen communities and seniors-only communities.
> Thanks!
> Susan Elster
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