We recently posted a couple of articles regarding downsizing and decluttering, good to do at anytime, but especially so if you may be thinking about moving.

If moving is in your future, there are lots of options from buying a new house or condo to renting an apartment or even deciding on a retirement home or living with family. To add to the mix however, there’s a new choice to consider – co-living!

Co-living is a growing new trend for adults and seniors.  Basically co-living is sharing housing with unrelated people, who help each other out as needed, but also maintain independent lives.  One of the key benefits of co-living is it alleviates loneliness and isolation that sometimes comes with aging alone.

It’s a little like the adult version of kids living together for college or university, but (hopefully) without the beer keg parties!

As a growing trend it has several advantages including reducing the cost of living through shared ownership or renting, living with people who share similar life histories and philosophies, and companionship as we age. Co-housing tends to be in neighbourhoods that include people of all ages and is often more affordable and flexible than traditional retirement communities.

Two examples of this concept are in Barrie and Port Perry. The first is Rosehill Heightsin Barrie, created by real estate entrepreneur Debbie Gilbert.  Debbie recognized a need in her community for senior women looking for accommodation who didn’t want the burden of home ownership. She sought to help them retain their independence, enjoy companionship but also understood their need to retain their privacy.

Her creative solution was to renovate a bungalow in a beautiful Barrie neighbourhood and decorate and furnish it to the highest standards.

She’s currently recruiting four senior women who might be interested in renting a space in the house.  Each person has an individual suite with a bed/sitting room and private bathroom.  Shared spaces include living room, dining room, family room, laundry on two floors as well as an office space, deck and patio backing onto a mature forest.

Debbie says that renting as opposed to owning allows women to control their investments and how they spend their money, and it’s less risky if they decide to move out as they don’t have to sell their “share” as in the co-ownership model. Best of all, they can come and go as they wish, knowing that they are living in a secure, reliable environment.

To apply to live in the house, Debbie has created a screening process to ensure that residents will be compatible and share similar interests and shared values.

While she is currently focused on providing co-living opportunities for senior women, she predicts that future Rosehill Heights homes may be co-ed, or even a house specifically for the LGBTQ community.

Another model of co-living is a group of  4 “Golden Girls” living in Port Perry.  In this version, the women are co-owners of the home – each person owns 25%  which would be sold if they decide to move out or they pass away. They each pay $1,500 a month towards living expenses, which includes a weekly house cleaner, landscaping, food and wine.

You can see more of their story in this BBC  article and video here.

It will be interesting to see how this trend grows as the population ages and people look for creative new living arrangements.  There are other co-living communities springing up in many places including Halton as this recent Inside Halton article describes.

What about you? Would you consider co-living as an option in the future?  Have you heard of any co-living homes in your area?  Let us know in the comments below!