Senior Co-housing

Senior Co-housing

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, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, and several in British Columbia.  The model of senior cohousing takes elements from a few existing ones – co-op housing, Aging in Place, Life Lease, and 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

If you are looking for assistance locating a home or resources for your loved one, you can reach out to our consulting team at or visit our consulting page for more information. Our Discover 3 program offers decision-makers and seniors, an opportunity to have a professional consultant identify 3 housing solutions based on their needs. If you need more information on care options for seniors, retirement community, or long-term care visiting tips and/or if you are interested in organizing your loved one’s information using our Care Planning Workbook, visit our publications page for a list of options and downloads.
For additional questions, feel free to contact us at is Canada’s largest unbiased seniors’ housing database, offering consulting services, and both seniors’ service and housing directories for professionals, seniors, and their families.


59 other articles by Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW