Monday, December 31, 2007

Retirement housing – a few interesting ideas

The concept of ‘cohousing’ is one I haven’t heard before. Well there is an association for ‘it’ in the US.

Cohousing (according to the Web site) is a type of collaborative housing where residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighbourhoods. The developments are usually attached or single-family homes along one or more pedestrian streets or clustered around a courtyard. They range in size from 7 to 67 residences, the majority of them housing 20 to 40 households.

There is a sub-group of cohousing for older people. In Europe there are examples of groups of likeminded people coming together to have their own properties and supporting facilities created. This has always sounded a nice idea in theory but I have always wondered how it works out in practice. What it does indicate is the demand for a more personalised version of retirement housing that will be required in the coming years.

The conference of Australia’s Retirement Village Association produced some interesting research.

Here are few of the factlets (well more like observations) that emerged during the presentations:

The largest sector of over-55s will stay in their own homes with rapid growth in home renovations and modifications to suit age limitations.

90% of people aged over 60 also will stay in their own country (Australia)

Of the rest they will move to country or seaside areas and currently only 5% into retirement lifestyle villages and then after age 75.

Over half of the over-55 age group will still work in some capacity with 60 per cent still servicing a mortgage or other debt and even more without enough superannuation to retire.

Many retirees will remain in the big family home to accommodate adult children returning to live with them while they return to study or recover from broken relationships.

Independent and assisted living units are viable inside malls with lift access and the security of a protected mall that includes food outlets and medical centres. This is a worldwide trend for over-70s to meet at malls and use the temperate interiors as an exercise and socialising arena. Good grief I cannot think of anything I would less want to do!

What a hotch potch of contrary indicators. I guess it illustrates the diversity of the 50-plus age group. Dick Stroud


Anonymous said...

If you were living in Florida Dick, then you would be glad of a place to exercise in the summer where someone else is paying the air conditioning bill!

Of course at this time of year we are all blessed with wonderful weather for the outdoors :)


Dick Stroud said...

I had never thought of it from that perspective. The thought of being in Naples (Florida) at this time of the year (Jan) rather than the UK is very very tempting!