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


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.   Visit the Oak Hill website at for more information and contacts.

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  

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


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

According to the Business Insider article titled  – Millennials are paying thousands of dollars a month for maid service and instant friends in modern ‘hacker houses’, by Melia Robinson; some critics see co-living as a fringe “dorms for grown-ups” trend.

“A great affordable, supportive ‘age in place’ concept, but not for everyone”

Affordable housing is as much a requirement for healthy aging as exercise and nutrition.


In Rockwood, Ontario a shared ‘dorm like’ home is taking shape with the construction of Oak Hill Co-Living. The Oak Hill shared home experience will be for independent seniors.  The home will provide six equal co-ownership shares, in essence providing shared ownership in a ‘privately owned’ retirement type home.  Follow updates for Oak Hill Co-Living at their website or Facebook page

The prestigious century home at 125 Richardson Street in Rockwood was completely renovated and had an extensive 1826 sq ft addition added to provide six private bed sitting rooms with private accessible bathrooms; a bright new common kitchen, living and dining room. A large finished basement recreation room with kitchenette provides a spacious gathering space for entertaining and crafting. A storage room provides additional designated storage for the homeowners. The home has been carefully designed to allow for comfortable accessibility and aging in place for the home’s co-owners. Watch the video of the demolition, renovation and construction of 125 Richardson at  .

Read the Wellington Advertiser article Oak Hill Co-Living ready to enter real estate market dated January 21, 2019 at

Now Available!

Co-Living:  How to Create a Shared Home in Your Community.

A DIY guide for your interest group. Read how we brought the shared home co-ownership concept to completion in Rockwood, Ontario! Follow our steps and resource guide to help your group create your shared home in your community.

You can purchase the DIY guide below. Email me at if you have any problems with the transaction.  Do not contact Paypal. All sales are final on all ebooks.  By proceeding with this purchase you are agreeing to these terms. There will be no refunds. If you would prefer a Printed Copy mailed via Canada Post.  Cost is $49.98  which includes the shipping.



 What’s inside?

Contains 63 pages of information and resources to guide you to create your community shared home.

  1. Introduction
    • How it all began
    • Co-Living for Seniors: What is it all about?
    • Co-Living for Seniors: How is it affordable?
    • An Affordable Alternative ‘Age in Place’ Housing Option Comparison
    • Co-Living for Seniors: How is it health promoting and a health care cost saving?
  2. Planning a shared, co-living, co-owned home for seniors in Rockwood
  3. Designing a shared, supportive, ‘aging in place’ home for seniors
  4. Financing – The search for funding – banks, financial institutions, government funding, private investors
  5. Finding a Builder
  6. Construction
  7. Co-Living Planning –
    • The co-living component.
    • Co-living compatibility questionnaire – ‘It’s not for everyone’!.
    • Homeowner (original) co-living compatibility questionnaire.
    • Writing the house rules. Oak Hill shared home house rules (to be reviewed and edited by the homeowners ongoing)
    • Writing a co-ownership agreement.
  8. Marketing – Targeting the ‘seekers’, those that are ready to downsize and embrace a supportive shared home lifestyle.
  9. Resource List


The information in the ebook document is copyright protected.  You are given permission to use it for your group project.  You may not copy or transfer or share any portion of this document for any purpose other than your community co-living project. You may not copy or transfer or share any portion of this document for the purpose of generating income.

#colivingforseniors #seniorscoliving #seniorscohousing #cohousingforseniors #sharedhomes #sharedliving #homeshare #affordableseniorshousing



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.” (

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 –  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 and Oak Hill Co-Living at

Elisabeth Hines, Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,,

#coliving #cohousing #community #righttribe #findyourtribe #peopleneedpeople #ageinplace #seniorscohousing #seniorscoliving