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.