Big Ideas

The Big Idea behind Canadian Senior Cohousing is to enable ourselves and others to flourish through mutual support, so that we can be all that we can be, and live optimal  lives to the end of our days.

This model for Active Aging in Community includes:

  • Connecting the dots between personal and global transitions. Creating and living the changes we want to see in the world.
  • Synergy.  Community is the secret ingredient in sustainability and in aging well
  • Sustainable net-Zero houses and net-zero caring in community. Our houses will produce as much energy as we use, or more. And we seniorcohousers will produce as much caring for each other and the larger community as we receive, or more.
  • We aim to enjoy the sweet spot of Senior Cohousing, where changing the world, being fully and happily alive, and living mindfully in community come together.

If you are interested in learning more, please consider enrolling in our two-day courses on Aging Well in Community.


15 Responses to Big Ideas

  1. Mane' Arratia says:

    Great idea!.. would love to hear more, though I doubt I can participate in the study… due to geographic location… except (perhaps) on Internet!…..??
    Best of luck with this project!!…..

  2. Brigit O'Leary says:

    Am very interested…. unable to attend in person but am also interested if the course is offered on line? Looking fwd to learning more. I am 60 by the way and grew up in Aldergrove during the 50s! Today I am ‘retired’ yet endeavor to an organic gardener and always active in community volunteering in various way and means. Cheers, bko.

  3. Elaine J. says:


  4. Lois Ireland says:

    Verrrry interested as we have been having the same ideas percolate thru for many years
    Is ther a place to visit , people to talk to etc ……….are you there tomorrow Monday Jan 27 ? How do we find you?

    • Margaret Critchlow says:

      Hi Lois,

      Perhaps you have already heard from David or Beth Kidd in Cowichan? I forwarded your address to them last week.


  5. David Wilson says:

    Hello, love the idea and the plan has merits however, my wife and I along with 20 close friends that are couples are looking into formulating a plan of our own that would see us create a community that houses us as we age.
    Our plan is to create a senior living complex with stores and a pharmacy. We would also have a part time nurse on staff and a general family doctor that would look after our needs as we age.
    However, as it stands we would like to see this project get off the ground but don’t know where to start. We are presently all in our late 40 or early 50’s and are on the verge of retirement at 55 when we will be able to dedicate more time to this idea. We also all plan on being snow birds during the winter months. Therefore, our residence in our complex would have to be a turn key residence. Our interest came about after hearing of a husband and wife who could not be housed in the same old age facility due to the need of one over another. One family member required around the clock care while the other only needed minimal day to day care. The cost associated with this care also jump started our interest we all are well enough off and can secure the necessary funds to start such a project but would require assistance in finalizing all the necessary pieces to see this plan come to fludition. We all presently reside in Ottawa Ontario. We have a doctor amongst us that would provide the necessary medical care and we also have a nurse that would do the day to day general daily physical checks as well. We need help formulating action plan that would see us sell our present residence and build our own old age facility with the funds we get from the sale of our primary residence. We would need to incorporate ourselves and set up a holding company from which we would draw the funds from to pay for the construction project. My problem is as I said where to start with such an enormous project and a vast undertaking it seem like an insurmountable task. However, I know this is not the case because we have old age facilities all over the country but we want our future care to be in our hands and under our control. This would ensure that love ones are not separated because of physical aliment or ability to pay. We also know that life happens and in the eventually of death or separation how do we deal with this scenario these are but a few of the current issues as owners that we would need some provision in place to deal with in the long term. We would also want to pass along our investment to our children this way they would have a place to retire in as well. You now have a general idea of where we stand. To limit the cost associated with such an undertaking we could approach a known builder as a partner but we need an action plan as a start or a business plan from which to work.
    Please feel free to drop me a line if you should have any additional ideas.
    Thank you,

    • Gerry O'Brien says:

      Hi David,
      I think that would be a good place to start. There are very good consultants with proven track records for this type of development.
      Good Luck
      Gerry O’Brien

  6. William Sheridan says:

    Although the Canadian Cohousing proposal sounds interesting, nowhere on your website have I actually been able to locate a specific plan or outline for the goals or methods involved. Is there a “position paper” that can give specifics, that you could send me?
    I have a short document I would like to share with you if you can give me an email address – it presents “an agenda for an age-friendly society” that I developed for a conference at St. Paul University, Ottawa, during the last week of September.

    • Margaret Critchlow says:

      Here may be what you have been waiting for: On Oct 26 we will launch our “How To Guide for creating innovations in senior housing. Look for a post with a link to the free download. To contact us, please email

  7. Ken Robinson says:

    Probably like most, I would like to belong to a cohousing community near where I currently live. There isn’t one so I have decided to see if I can raise some interest locally. So far I have proposed the concept to the local Council on Aging. Sent out email explanations about Senior Cohousing to more than 50 friends, relatives and acquaintances to see if there is any interest and have created a blog with links to other cohousing sites hoping to engage people through postings and comments.
    Next I would like to hold a meeting , Introduction to Cohousing. Can anyone recommend a slide show (power point presentation) that I could use as a resource to explain “what cohousing is” and thus stimulate discussion and questions?

    • Ann Knowles says:

      Margaret Critchlow did a wonderful slide show and talk by Skype for us here in Nova Scotia – I would highly recommend getting in touch with her st Harbourside, Sooke BC or right here on this site!
      Ann Knowles

  8. Kathlyn Hunter says:

    A small group of us are thinking renovation of heritage property in New Brunswick. Any ideas or suggestions on that?

    • Margaret Critchlow says:

      Suggest you meet with the local authorities to find out what is allowed, both in terms of renovation and use. In particular, you will need to know if multi-family residential is allowed in that location. Renovation can be comparable in cost to building new but the quality of construction and aesthetics can make it worthwhile for some cohousing groups.

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