When we get together with friends, talk often turns to the future, to our senior years, and what we want those to look like. Recently, many of us have become intrigued by the idea of building a cohousing community.
The idea of cohousing, as we see it, is to live in a community of people who care about each other’s well-being, who will be there in times of trouble, to listen, lend a hand, or provide a shoulder to cry on. We want to eat good food, drink good wine, laugh, play music, talk about the things that excite or infuriate us, and share the activities we enjoy. We want to hang out together and watch sunsets on the deck (hence the name).
It doesn’t have to be a sunset, obviously — it could be a sunrise, or a big storm rolling in, or a fireworks display, or just the evening stars twinkling. And it doesn’t have to be on a deck — it could be a patio, or just a big lawn with blankets and hot chocolate. But the idea is to be together with people we want to spend time with, not people we happen to be cooped up together with in some impersonal institution.
In our case, this conversation has been happening off and on with a group of friends that have known each other for more than 3 decades now, mostly because we went to university together. And if the details of our dream seem a little vague at the moment, that’s because — as often happens when you try to co-ordinate with a group — we don’t entirely agree on what our vision of cohousing is exactly.
We all have ties to Ontario, and although we have spread out to various locations over the years, we’re pretty sure we want to find a site somewhere in southern Ontario. We have agreed that we don’t want to be in a big city, and that we want enough space to each have our own independent living quarters, a large common area, and lots of outdoor space for decks, gardens, and outdoor activities.
We aren’t entirely sure if we want to be on the outskirts of a smaller city, with access to restaurants, entertainment and services, or somewhere more rural, perhaps on a lake, where we can also go for long paddles or walks with our dogs. It would be nice to be within reasonable driving distance of an international airport.
We do know that we would like to connect with other, like-minded people who are interested in exploring co-housing options for active adults who are approaching their senior years and want to have some control over their living arrangements as they age. We want to start the conversations that will allow each of us to figure out what we are really looking for and whether there are others that share the same vision.