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Thread: Cohousing for companionship

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Cohousing for companionship

    Zoegirl had posted about the value of cohousing being a benefit for those who chose to live together for companionship. I have been looking in the media to see if this option is seen as viable. CBC has this ["https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/seniors-cohousing-baby-boomers-loneliness-mental-health-1.4952142"] article about three longtime friends who sell their houses and find a shared living space that serves them well. It is interesting to read actual experiences.
    I think it would take fairly congenial people to cohabit in this setting. I am not sure that I could do this. I wonder how many others would be able to do so?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Zoegirl had posted about the value of cohousing being a benefit for those who chose to live together for companionship. I have been looking in the media to see if this option is seen as viable. CBC has this ["https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/seniors-cohousing-baby-boomers-loneliness-mental-health-1.4952142"] article about three longtime friends who sell their houses and find a shared living space that serves them well. It is interesting to read actual experiences.
    I think it would take fairly congenial people to cohabit in this setting. I am not sure that I could do this. I wonder how many others would be able to do so?
    Count me out of these earnest, new agey places. I can just imagine the kind of people who would inhabit them and already that they annoy me.

    What is wrong with today’s retirement communities? Why is that not “intentional community cohousing? “Does everyone have to share a kitchen for it to count?

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I can see encouraging community, as Iris Lily's example suggests, but I want my own, private dwelling--until I can't sustain that.
    I really don't have the personality for a Golden Girls revival.

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    In true cohousing, by definition, everyone has their own kitchen, in fact, whole separate living space.
    www.cohousing.org

    This is a concept that has intrigued me for many years, but the communities are awfully hard to buy into as a single person, because they are usually some above market rate. The idea is that people intend to live in community, i.e. sharing chores, tools, dinners, emotional support, etc.
    Last edited by mschrisgo2; 12-21-18 at 11:50pm. Reason: clarity

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    You don't need a cohousing development. Some widowed retirees I know get other widowed retirees as roommates.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I have such a negative visceral reaction to these discussions of cohousing, it is interesting for me to examine my own reaction. Where is that coming from?

    Here are the ideas and words that come to my mind when people talk about “cohousing:” Ernest, faux, deliberate, artificial, intrusive, forced, sheeple, people with more money than brains, people lacking a core life purpose.

    A “cohousing community” immediately makes me think of a lot of needy people circling me, wanting to be my best friend, sucking my life energy, yammering at me about “Organic sustainability green living raised beds nogmos“ And quacking on about the state of their tomato vines. They pay twice the price of comparable real estate to buy their friends, and they often ( and this is the biggest sin in my book) build all of this community brand new. What disregard for sustainability/green living! New construction eats up much more of the earth’s resources than most other human activity. It just gives me the skeevies.

    I admit, my reaction is anything but rational. I could write an ironic tv sitcom about my imagined cohousing community, but maybe Portlandia already covered this.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 12-22-18 at 10:00am.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I have such a negative visceral reaction to these discussions of cohousing, it is interesting for me to examine my own reaction. Where is that coming from?

    Here are the ideas and words that come to my mind when people talk about “cohousing:” Ernest, faux, deliberate, artificial, intrusive, forced, sheeple, people with more money than brains, people lacking in a core life purpose.

    A “cohousing community” immediately makes me think of a lot of needy people circling me, wanting to be my best friend, sucking my life energy, yammering at me about “Organic sustainability green living raised beds nogmos“ And quacking on about the state of their tomato vines. They pay twice the price of comparable real estate to buy their friends, and they often ( and this is the biggest sin in my book) build all of this community brand new. What disregard for sustainability/green living! New construction eats up much more of the earth’s resources than most other human activity. It just gives me the skeevies.

    I admit, my reaction is anything but rational. I could write an ironic tv sitcom about my imagined cohousing community, but maybe Portlandia already covered this.
    Haha... ! Yes, Portlandia does come to mind in your description. (I LOVE that show)

    Is this an example of what you're talking about? I found this community while tooling around last year looking for a VT home.

    https://www.champlainvalleycohousing.org

    I'm too much of an introvert to choose to live in the same house with other people--co-existing with DH and BIL is challenging enough. Yet, I see a need for a) some type of communal experience in your neighborhood based on common values and b) some way to create that environment without making it into a commune. I know that our snowbird friends have called Florida "Spring break for adults" but I'm not really interested in the mah Jong, martinis at 5 lifestyle. But, razz, there has to be something like what you're looking for without having to share the TV remote with an "intentional friend."
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    I was intrigued by this concept when I first heard of it and looked into a few, twenty years ago. Thanks, Catherine, for posting that link. (And why do they have to offer a non-violence workshop that is private, when other stuff is public--hmm). The problem I saw for us was that they were always extremely expensive, and would self select or very high incomes, it seemed to me, and that felt kind of like a gated community but way out in the boonies, with beautiful architecture but you would have to drive to get there.

    My one experience with condo living was horrible, because of things liked shared lawns and self-appointed fertilizer kings.

    I thought Razz you were talking more about a few people getting together to share housing. As I get older, this looks extremely appealing to me, especially if I were widowed or divorced. Then I would immediately call my friend MJ and say, hey, lets buy a little house in Savannah to live in and she would probably be game, and she could get her friend, C, etc.

    I could deal with sharing a kitchen. Sharing a garden would be much more difficult. . .

  9. #9
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I was intrigued by this concept when I first heard of it and looked into a few, twenty years ago. Thanks, Catherine, for posting that link. (And why do they have to offer a non-violence workshop that is private, when other stuff is public--hmm). The problem I saw for us was that they were always extremely expensive, and would self select or very high incomes, it seemed to me, and that felt kind of like a gated community but way out in the boonies, with beautiful architecture but you would have to drive to get there.

    My one experience with condo living was horrible, because of things liked shared lawns and self-appointed fertilizer kings.

    I thought Razz you were talking more about a few people getting together to share housing. As I get older, this looks extremely appealing to me, especially if I were widowed or divorced. Then I would immediately call my friend MJ and say, hey, lets buy a little house in Savannah to live in and she would probably be game, and she could get her friend, C, etc.

    I could deal with sharing a kitchen. Sharing a garden would be much more difficult. . .
    Actually, now that you mention it, Tybee, I have a cousin who was born a week before I was, and we're fairly close. She has lived in CT with her mother, who is now 94, for much of her life. They have a beautiful old farmhouse--my aunt's husband owned a landscape nursery. If I became single I (theoretically) would consider living with my cousin for companionship if it came to that. But I think at this point, I'd be much more likely to just move full time to our little neighborhood in VT. I wouldn't say I share common values 100% (I definitely have experienced the lawn/fertilizer kings) but they are good people and they would look out for me.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Haha... ! Yes, Portlandia does come to mind in your description. (I LOVE that show)

    Is this an example of what you're talking about? I found this community while tooling around last year looking for a VT home.

    https://www.champlainvalleycohousing.org

    ."
    Oh that is horrifying! They are “ Dedicated to knowing each other in a more meaningful way. “ Cripey, get me outta there.

    Doing a little more introspection than usual today I am now tapping into what may be feeding some of my dislike of this cohousing concept. My California relatives play into it. I think of my California relatives who purchased expensive real estate in one of those highly planned earth friendly super architecturally clean communities, Sea Ranch. It suited them for a while but then someone was going to build an intentional castle right in front of my aunt’s intentional view of the ocean, so she got mad and left. That aunt and several of her friends bought condos in the same complex in Oregon. That is of course where the Californians go when they want to retire in cheap real estate which is no longer cheap because the Californians have moved there with their big California dollars.

    That aunt must be well into her 90s by now, probably nearing 100. I wonder how many of her friends are left in the intentional Oregon condo community

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