PEI

Senior co-housing a possibility for Island living

The P.E.I. Senior Cohousing Working Group will be holding a conference on the concept of co-housing Tuesday.

Conference being held Tuesday to look at idea of small groups of seniors living communally

A conference on senior co-housing is being held Tuesday. (Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. Senior Cohousing Working Group will be holding a conference on the concept of co-housing Tuesday.

Co-chairs Sheila Bacon and Al James first heard a CBC radio interview about senior co-housing and turned that into a serious exploration of the concept as a viable option for seniors on P.E.I.

I don't want to be in a place where I can't make a pan of biscuits if I want to.- Sheila Bacon

James told Mainstreet host Karen Mair he felt the Island was a good place for the concept with its sense of community.

"Co-housing on the Island is important for a number of reasons. As we get older, as we've watched our parents get older, we've seen situations where people are not always well-supported or there is loneliness."

"We also recognize that our government services aren't going to be able to take care of all our needs."

Wants a place to still call home

James said they are looking at locations all over P.E.I. that can offer downtown living with available spaces for parking.

Bacon said her interest in co-housing comes from wanting to retire to a place that she call her home.

"I don't want to be in a place where I can't make a pan of biscuits if I want to."

Bacon adds she is looking for a different option than what her parents had.

More seniors begin to consider co-housing as a living option. (CBC)

"The thing I like about this model is the balance between your private living space and your shared communal space — it just appeals to me as an idea."

During the conference, participants will hear about the uniqueness of co-housing from Margaret Critchlow, a founding member of the Harbourside Senior Cohousing Community in British Columbia and director of the Canadian Senior Cohousing Society.

Organized by people living there

"I think what makes any co-housing community unique is it's organized by the people who live there and they develop it, put the money into it and who shape the culture to meet the needs of that particular co-housing community," said Critchlow.

Critchlow's interest in co-housing came from not being happy with the options that were being offered and again, not wanting the same experience her mother had as an aging senior, she explained.

She said the co-housing community she lives in provided an opportunity for those living in rural areas to live closer to the services they needed within a close community setting. The co-housing model provides residents privacy and the benefits of community by co-caring for each other.

"I believe co-housing is very suited to rural living," said Critchlow.

When asked about the cost, Critchlow said it is based on the housing market values of the area.

With files from Mainstreet

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