Seniors Co-Living: From Concept to Reality in Rockwood, Ontario in 2018

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In 2014 my family moved my parents from a retirement home into a nursing home at my father’s request. I started to think forward about what type of housing situation I might want when I reached their age.  Up until that day I never considered the cost of retirement or nursing home living.  That changed radically when our family ‘did the math’ about our parents’ choices.  On the day we moved our parents into the nursing home we estimated that our parents had enough money to cover the cost of staying in the two nursing home rooms for three years.  My mother and father wanted to have two private rooms at the nursing home like they did in the retirement home, one as a sitting room and one as their bedroom.

I came away from that day knowing that I would be challenged to be able to afford most retirement home living options with my present income; and that I did not want to spend my last days sharing a ward room in a nursing home should I needed long term care. I shared my frustration with Anne and she too started to be concerned about being able to afford her future ‘retirement housing options’.

‘There had to be another solution’. My search began at my computer searching for alternative affordable retirement housing options.  That is how I found co-housing for seniors.  I researched the history of senior’s co-housing and places where it was available. Anne and I liked the shared home alternative option and we started the Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group to share the information with other people to try to generate interest for a local home. There are any different versions of co-housing, co-living and shared housing to be found around the world. The differences between them can be quite distinct determined by factors like location, financing, interests and group dynamics. I designed Oak Hill from a combination of other shared housing designs, including the layout of the private retirement home that I was director of in the past as well as committee input. Janette, the owner of the original home and property now known as Oak Hill, has customized her shared home ‘co-living’ lifestyle experience to fit her vision.

Since I plan to continue working and I see clients in my present home, I will not be making a move into shared housing at this time. Seniors co-living will be my preferred downsizing housing solution in the future as an affordable, supportive alternative to nursing home living.

For now I am actively involved in bringing Oak Hill Co-Living to completion at 125 Richardson Street in Rockwood. The Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group’s role in launching Oak Hill Co-Living is almost complete. Oak Hill is now ready for move in.  Janette is now meeting with prospective co-owners and will be hosting ‘come and see’ ongoing open house hours. Visit the Oak Hill website at www.oakhillcoliving.com for more information and contacts.

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The Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group will be available to Oak Hill upon request as a co-living/co-housing resource if needed. If you would like to meet with the Rockwood Co-Living Interest Group about a property in Rockwood that you would like to adapt as a co-living home, please contact me, Elisabeth Hines at elisabethlhines@gmail.com.  

Read my other posts on co-living:

Co-Living for Seniors:  An Opportunity for Health Promoting, Affordable, Supportive Housing

Co-Living Longevity Benefits:  Lessons From the Blue Zones

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CO-LIVING LONGEVITY BENEFITS: Lessons From The Blue Zones

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As a holistic wellness practitioner I am continually researching strategies that promote healthy longevity.  Much of the research has been centered around diet and lifestyle factors that promote health. The ultimate goal is to maximize your number of healthy years.

I recently revisited the National Geographic, April 12, 2005 article – Here Are the Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life  by Simon Worral .

“In 2012, Dan Buettner set off around the world to answer a question that has obsessed philosophers and doctors since Methuselah: Why do people in some parts of the world live so much longer than others? His travels took him to Greece, Nicaragua and Japan, among others. Then he brought the lessons back to Main Street, USA.” (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150412-longevity-health-blue-zones-obesity-diet-ngbooktalk/)

The ‘blue zones’ are areas of the world where people live the longest and healthiest. In his book How to Live to Be 100: Lessons Learned from The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner outlines the lessons that can be incorporated into our lives to improve our chances of living a long, healthy life.

The lessons in summary:

  1. Move naturally (and often)
  2. Hara Hachi Bu –  Confucian-inspired saying that means “stop eating when you are 80% full.”
  3. Eat a plant based diet
  4. Drink red wine daily
  5. Have a daily ‘life purpose’
  6. Downshift, disconnect, relax
  7. Belong to a spiritual community
  8. Family first
  9. Right tribe – surround yourself with people, people need people

Coliving is a way of living focused on a genuine sense of community, using shared spaces and facilities to create a more convenient and fulfilling lifestyle. Co-living provides an opportunity to incorporate many of the longevity promoting Blue Zones lessons into your daily life. There are benefits to be gained from living in a ‘walk-able’ community with a group of like minded, supportive people who become your new family. Adding the other lessons into the mix are sure to provide the healthy, happy longevity you desire as you ‘aging in place’.

Visit the Blue Zones website for more information on living the blue zones way – https://bluezones.com/.  Learn how to live longer and better.

Find a co-living/co-housing community to experience the benefits of ‘right tribe’.  Visit the Canadian Senior Cohousing website at http://canadianseniorcohousing.com/ and Oak Hill Co-Living at www.oakhillcoliving.com.

Elisabeth Hines, Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca,

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