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Is cohousing worth a look?

Want to live somewhere where you have both the advantages of a fully-appointed communal house and your own smaller private house or cottage? Where you have your own community of neighbors to share resources, skills and knowledge? Where you know your belongings and pets will be safe whether you take a trip to the supermarket or around the world? Where you know the people around you will help you out if you need it, where you can share home-cooked meals and social life when you want to?  Cohousing may be a fit for you.

Although the concept is not a new one, it's a growing trend in the U.S., especially among the baby boomers as an alternative to living alone in a house or apartment, a gated retirement community or  conventional senior "facility".  There are several multi-generational and senior communities up and running in the U.S. and many more in the making. Among the many advantages are community, privacy, democratic self-government and  flexibility to meet the needs of the community. No outside developer or condo board sets the rules for you.  YOU, as part of the group, determine the membership, design of the community, and how you would like to manage your day-to-day living. 

I believe this idea could work very well here in Mexico and at a much lower cost than a comparable community in the U.S., both in construction and daily expenses.  If you'd like to discuss more, please write to me. A good introduction to the concept is the article "Aging Better Together" by Anne P. Glass.  Thanks for reading!

Well casa colbri,

Many natives in Mexico have had this sort of community,  Its usually family and friend based not just people.  You are talking about a commune which is an old concept. It is a workable thing , but tricky.   When you get groups of people together like that, you need a like minded idea and very compatible people. The mennonites live that way here, but that is a religious group who farm.

So If I understand you correctly you want an American community like that here. Here is one. https://www.ic.org/directory/rancho-amigos-eco-village/

Hello again, I communicated with you previously - you sent me some photos and I was very impressed. This is a great idea, and I think it would really serve people with this concept.  You are very sincere, and will be successful. I too am seeking an area to call my  new home.  I am traveling - for the 2nd time to San Cristobal de las Casas - to follow up on that "great point of interest".

No, not  a commune a la 60s hippies, nor the new millennial re-make of that old movie like your rancho example.  Commune implies  a sharing of ALL assets, including income.  This is cohousing, with the primary objective being to share the amenities of communal house, some meals and companionship, but not intermingle your pocketbook with mine, nor your private space with mine.

One of the defining characteristics of cohousing is the physical building positioning of private homes facing the communal house and designing the community for social interactions. The most common reasons for adopting cohousing as a way to live center on the $ savings of  sharing expenses, the social aspects of friendship and neighbors who "got your back", and the privacy of your own dwelling.

In the small group I propose, compatibility will be important.  There are trained cohousing facilitators who groups engage to give workshops on group dynamics and communication, two essentials to success in cohousing. We don't have to be clones to get along, but we need to be able to cooperate with one another and recognize different communication styles and how to handle disagreements effectively.

It will be set up as a non-profit corporation with members owning shares in the whole.  It is not  eco, agricultural or religion oriented, nor is it work-based in any way. Neither is it a gated community with track houses and a "clubhouse".  If you're interested in knowing more about the concept - and its differences from a commune -  I suggest any book about cohousing by Charles Durett, or Google cohousing and look a what's going on now in the U.S., in both multi-generational and senior cohousing communities.

I welcome any other questions you may have, travellight, and the chance to clarify any misconceptions.

Sure, I remember chatting with you, Peggy!  How's San Cristobal working out?  Hope it was what you were seeking!  Best wishes to you!

Travellight, If you;d like to bypass the reading and Googling, you might go directly to a couple of senior cohousing communities websites: Silver Sage Village  and/or Elderberry for a look

"Like a condo or co-op association, residents own their homes and the land is owned collectively. In addition, families pay approximately $3,500 a year to fund shared resources and amenities."
Pretty successful in parts of europe In the U.S not as successful as you think. Not as communal as a commune, more like a condo association. Owners , managers, counselors, and sales people.
sfgate.com/entertainment/article/It-s-A-Commune-It-s-A-Condo-It-s-Cohousing-2923818.php.

Not a new concept, but I wish you luck, keep in touch and let us know if it is working for you.

I am actually looking into San Cristobal as well. Never been there but looks very nice and affordable. Please share more about that area. I would like to know more.

Well, Travellight, that's not quite it either...but maybe you're getting a bit warmer than "commune".  No condo boards, condo rules and regulations, sales people (other than me not looking to make a profit, BTW), no developers, no outside managers.  WE, the members of this cohousing project, will be in charge of it as a group. WE will design it, build it and administer it. It's not confusing. Please, please  consult the sources I've suggested.

That was not my opinion, I just passed on things that were already published about the concept. If you disagree then speak with Mr. Stewart, a founder and the news paper that did the article I posted for you.

I am well educated, and knowledgeable in a number of areas so it is not a mystery to me.  I remember the Japanese trying to introduce the concept. It seemed you were questioning, so I tried to present some balanced  facts for you.

If you actually need help let us know.

Good luck, It didn't work for mr. Stewart, He feels that is partly 'because what works with europeans often does not work with Americans', seems logical from what I have seen, but I'm not investing in this you are.

Thanks you for your offer of help, Travellight. What kind of help can you offer? Cohousing is not for everyone, the same way that "Leisure Village" isn't. I am fully aware that finding the right group of compatible people is key to its success, but  I am not questioning  that my efforts can succeed.   I have a clear plan and am blessed with the old-fashioned attributes of gumption and perseverance to pursue it.

I personally think it is a great idea. Many details will have to be worked out but the concept is great. I am a single woman and I would love to live outside of city but I do not feel secure to do it on my own in Mexico. This kind of setting would be perfect with the right people.

Thanks, Itobys. That's exactly my thinking! Let's go find those right people!  :top:

Here are a few 2017 links that will hopefully offset the dreary 2001 article you posted from sfgate.,Travellight.  It's come a long way in 16 years! And especially in the arena of senior cohousing.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/usa … g/82760600

https://the-agency-project.com/2017/08/ … nt-page-1/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/usa … 827606001/

https://www.ted.com/talks/grace_kim_how … ive_longer

Here are a couple of articles I encountered while researching cohousing as an alternative:

This was my first inspiration -

http://www.secondjourney.org/itin/12_Su … _Glass.htm

More recent ones:

http://elderberrycohousing.blogspot.mx/2017/

https://the-agency-project.com/2017/08/ … nt-page-1/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/usa … 827606001/

I also contacted Silver Sage Village and Elderberry to find if someone could act as a mentor. Got a willing volunteer from both places!

I LOVE the idea! I tried for years to convince my extended family to do this sort of thing, calling it instead a compound; everyone has their own home, but there are communal resources and of course shared management - as you describe in the "We" part of determining who does what. Some folks were interested until others piped up - you could hear the bickering and gossip starting...and this was only the idea stage!
The hardest part, of course, is finding the right people.

Hello Anne,   Count me in.... I totally agree with the concept.  I am watching this space closely and will be interested in further developments....  I have a daughter living in Mexico and have been considering moving there...  The children have their own lives to lead and your idea  will enable me to see them more often and not be dependent on them for socializing, having my own interest and company my own age...  would be lovely to have a support of this kind, do your own thing yet have a support group at hand.
Best of luck
Arien - South Africa

Yeah count me in. I have lived in intention community, a month at Findhorn, eco village training. Also some time in Costa Rica. Also WWOOFed for 9 months at 3 different intentional communities. I like having a common space shared and common meals. I am probably more commune oriented than others in this conversation. I get the having your own space but also having a common area to share time and food and resources. I am an old commune hippy from back in the late 70s. I have had interest in the intentional community movement for probably about 2 decades.  Thanks for including me in conversation.  I am going to Cancun for the first time for the month of Feb and March.

HI Aliceah,
I lived at Findhorn for 2+ years back in the mid 1980's !    I am now in Mexico for a month and considering long winter stays here on the Pacific.  Single, daughter in college, work part time.    So, why not?!  Let's stay in touch.   Arlene

Yes Arleneruby Lets keep in touch. Are you on the ocean, sounds like it. The community that CasaColibri is trying to form is inland in Guanajuato. Perhaps you knew that already. . My intention is to do much like what you mentioned, to be out of cold Canada for the winter. That is so I can swim in the warm ocean.   Peace,

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