Origins of Senior Cohousing

Initially, all cohousing was intergenerational. In practice this meant residents were mostly young families, with a few seniors. Twenty years after cohousing began in Denmark, many of residents had aged into their fifties and sixties. Now,  just as in their youth, they wanted ways to live that better suited their changing needs, and existing cohousing did not always meet those needs: such as fewer steps, or someone to talk to during the day.

In 1992, Henry Nielsen developed a model for creating senior cohousing communities which became very successful in Denmark. Charles Durrett adapted this model to the North American context, publishing the Senior Cohousing Handbook in 2009.

19 Responses to Origins of Senior Cohousing

  1. Susan Robinson says:

    I’m interested in learning more. A friend and I were discussing yesterday about how we likely will not be able to afford to live alone in as soon as 5-7 years so will need to look at another model.

  2. Jayne says:

    I want to know if there is cohousing for seniors in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge area. Would you please forward any information.
    Thank you!
    Sincerely, Jayne D.

    • Rebekah C. says:

      Hi Jayne,

      I am a Bachelor of Social Work student at Renison University College with incredible ideas and vision for a seniors housing initiative. I live in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and I am building the looking to begin my entrepreneurial social enterprise.
      I am terribly excited that I stumbled upon this post. Would you would be willing to meet sometime over coffee/tea to talk about what you are interested in. My email address is I would be delighted to hear from you!


  3. Joan E. Todd says:

    I am interested in any start up cohousing groups for seniors in Kitchener/Waterloo or Hamilton/ Stratford areas. Joan Todd

    • Rebekah C. says:

      Dear Jayne & Joan,

      I hope you both will receive this post.

      I am a Bachelor of Social Work student at Renison University College (with University of Waterloo) with incredible ideas and vision for a seniors housing initiative. I live in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and I am building resources to begin my entrepreneurial social enterprise.

      I am excited and encouraged that I stumbled upon this post. Would you both let me buy you a coffee or tea sometime to talk about what you are interested in?

      My email address is I would be absolutely delighted to hear from you!

      With peace,

  4. I am interested in hearing more about your co-housing community in Toronto.

  5. Cristina says:

    Buenos días, mi nombre es Cristina y estudio Trabajo Social en la Universidad de Navarra, España.
    Estoy haciendo un proyecto relacionado con este tema y me encuentro ante poca información. Agradecería mucho que alguien pudiese enviarme mas información sobre el tema del Cohousing, cohousing senior o incluso orígenes e historia del cohousing.
    Mi correo es

  6. Jane Keeler says:

    I am a veteran of cohousing organizing in Ottawa, but I did not pursue that dream long enough to live in cohousing. Now I need to plan for senior cohousing– in Ottawa. Although these posts are very old, I’m looking for other interested people in this area…. Please contact me if you see this and have suggestions. Thanks!

  7. Diana Campbell says:

    Hi Jane, Are you looking at organizing cohousing for seniors or are you in need of cohousing. I just stumbled upon this site, I am looking to share accommodation in Ottawa, but did not know where to look, on Kijjii it is mostly twenty somethings and I want to share with a senior.

    • Fern Goldman says:

      Hi Diana,

      Are you still looking/exploring cohousing with senior(s)? I’m just starting on this road and would like to connect with others thinking about this.


  8. FAQ says:

    Très bel article, j’aime!

  9. Yvonne says:

    Hello: I have a country home outside of Edmonton that would be perfect for co housing . Wheelchair accessible with heated double attached garage. 4bedrooms with 4 bathrooms. Would like any information and suggestions. Thanks

  10. Margaret Jones says:

    Currently I am 71 years old, female, looking for 1 bedroom accomodations in North Burlington.
    Is there any progress on co-housing in that area?
    I would love to hear from other active seniors in a similar position.
    Gardening anyone?

    Margaret Jones

  11. Diona Szczerbak says:

    We are an existing group of ladies and call ourselves the Venus group. We have been friends for many years…all 70 plus in age…all thinking the co-housing concept would be ideal for our continued care and friendship for one another. We all presently reside in Burlington Ontario .We are thinking a rental situation would be ideal for us.We are all retired professional independent women looking for a landlord with a house and property amenable to our group living situation. We look forward to a reply.

  12. Leia Kelly says:

    Howdy y’all,

    I am 70+ and looking for a seniors community or cohousing for the poorer section of society. All the plans I have seen so far are way too expensive. Older women on OAS or ODSP are in dire need of comfortable, safe housing.

    We are a few seniors who are willing to do the early work of getting this set up running. We need a large building, preferably in downtown west Toronto, from University to Dufferin, Bloor to the lake. Other offers will be considered.

    I would like to know more about grants and etc, that we might qualify for?

    Any help is appreciated, most of those we wish to serve cannot help themselves but are still functioning, just lonely. And usually living in and out of the shelter system.

    Thank you


  13. Jessica Mendes says:

    Why does this article not offer resources, or a means to FIND senior co-housing? It makes no sense to write a promotional piece and then offer nothing for people to follow up. I have been online for hours looking.

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