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Senior Co-housing

Province: CA

Fairly new to North America, the cohousing model which combines privacy with shared resources emphasizing social, environmental and economic sustainability, originated in Denmark in the late 1960’s with its first community developed by 1973. The concept reached North America in the late 1980’s with the first units opening in California in 1991. A few years later, in 1994, Canada’s first was built in British Columbia. 

Cohousing specifically for seniors has only been around for a few years and was developed because of the benefits discovered from multi-generational cohousing occurring in Europe and parts of the USA. Still in its infancy, there are a few communities in Ontario and the Western provinces.  The model of senior cohousing takes elements from a few existing ones – co-op housing, Aging in Place, Life Lease, retirement living – in order to create something new and necessary as we begin to consider innovative ways to care for our increasing senior population. In most models, seniors are active participants in developing their own sense of ‘community’. They buy in (and reside in the privacy of their own unit), manage the complex themselves, and share caregivers, chores, resources & common space as they deem necessary. In sharing resources and care, seniors can manage on a fixed income and with the support of others in their network, they benefit from social stimulation and emotional  support. Residents are encouraged to be interdependent which encourages each persons’ independence. To find out more about senior cohousing in Canada, visit or

Information from (July 2017).

Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is offered for general informational and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily Senioropolis Inc/ In no way are any of the materials presented meant to be a substitute for professional advice nor should it be construed as such.  Senioropolis Inc. has endeavoured to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained on this website. However, neither it nor the administrator of the site assumes liability whatsoever for any errors or omissions, nor guarantees the accuracy, of the information herein.

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