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Solo Agers Plan Detroit Cohousing Community

Intentional communities are popping up all over America as a viable housing option for solo agers – single people without children or a spouse, or singles and couples whose children live far away. If this describes you, your sweet-spot for housing might be a little-known option called Elder Cohousing.

Cohousing is an alternative to expensive housing, for boomers who yearn for continued independence but within a supportive community environment.

“For middle income, solo-aging boomers, if you want to downsize and age in Detroit in a supportive community, there are no options. If you want this, you’ll have to move to the suburbs,” says Pat Rencher, publisher of Urban Aging News and member of the State Advisory Council on Aging.

The idea is appealing to a growing number of solo agers who are proactively and intentionally planning against the threat of spending their final years alone, wondering who will take care of them, and perhaps ending life in a conventional nursing home.

“Published research tell us and it’s confirmed in my day-to-day observation that people remain healthier and live independently longer if they have strong community ties,” said Rencher.

There is a movement in its infancy to establish a cohousing community in Detroit with seniors living in separate homes on a “campus,” sharing common facilities like a community house or gardens. Community members would also pool responsibilities like taking a neighbor to the doctor when they no longer drive, or preparing a community meal.

According to the Senior Cohousing Advocates, the process of deciding community rules, housing types and other decision-making is spearheaded by a group of friends or neighbors, or by a few members who then recruit other future “neighbors” for investment and participation.

If a member needs care at some point, they continue to live at the site for as long as possible with community support. In the event a member needs to live in a long-term care community, the community remains a part of the member’s life. This allows members to age in place for as long as possible, avoid social isolation, and decrease the financial, psychosocial, and health burden that many solo agers experience.

If you would like to learn more about Elder Cohousing Detroit, email or call 313.204.5140. Visit to learn more about cohousing.

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