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Elder Co-Housing in the United States: Three Case Studies

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Borrowing from the Danish and Dutch model, elder co-housing communities now exist in the United States as an innovative alternative to more traditional housing options for older adults. This article presents case studies of the first three such communities, which differ distinctly from each other. Glacier Circle in Davis, California, was the first to open, in December 2005, with eight units. It has the oldest population, comprised of long-time friends, with the average age at move-in of 81.7 (range of 75 to 91). ElderSpirit Community opened two months later in Abingdon, Virginia, with a mean age at move-in of 70.4 (range = 63 to 84). With over twenty-nine units, it is the largest community, and includes both residents who own their homes and some who rent government-subsidized units. ElderSpirit Community espouses mutual support and spirituality as values. In October 2007, Silver Sage opened with sixteen units in Boulder, Colorado. Silver Sage targets 'pro-active adults aged 50+', and thus had a younger mean move-in age of 64.3 (range from 54 to 81). The case studies encompass how these communities came into existence; their physical designs; demographic profiles, health, and levels of satisfaction of their residents; and physical design lessons learned. The results of these case studies demonstrate elders can create their own communities and will benefit others who are looking for alternative ways of living as they age.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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