Updated: Dec 31, 2018
If I Could Just Go Back...
Back in undergrad, Rams Commons was THE place to be. For those who weren't fortunate enough to attend Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), Rams Commons is a co-ed dorm with suites. There were four bedrooms per suite, with a full-sized bed, closet, and desk in each room. We shared a kitchen, a living room, and there was one bathroom for two people on each side. Along with having an amazing living arrangement such as Rams Commons, we would have water fights, sit on the breezeway talking and laughing, but knew that at any moment we could go back to our rooms for privacy. Living on a college campus was perfect. Then one day, it was all over.
Since this past weekend was WSSU's homecoming, I was able to relive some of the best parts about a college campus, which was chilling with the homies. Seeing college friends and linking with sorority sisters made me miss the deep connections made while being in undergrad. Homecoming allowed us to reminisce about the dreams and goals we had in undergrad, the challenges we overcame and how this experience took part in molding us into the amazing people we are today. *sigh Take me back to undergrad where the only care I had was if I was going to the Ram Shack or the cafe!
If you could, would you ever go back to undergrad and do the dorm life thing again? For those who have never experienced the dorm life, does living on a campus near close friends sound like something you'd be into? If so, you might be interested in something that will soon become more popular in the years to come, which is co-housing. Keep reading..
What the Heck is Co-housing?!
Co-housing isn't necessarily like a college dorm, but it has some similarities such as sharing common rooms, and having the chance to fellowship when one feels up to it. Co-housing was initiated in Denmark back in the 1970's, but was not introduced to the U.S. until 1990. It is an intentional neighborhood of roughly 15 to 35 homes that have a common area/house, which includes a kitchen and a meeting room for people to gather, and other amenities that enhance the quality of life for the residents. Each community is unique in its own way and varies in price and acreage. The neighborhood can be made up of single-family homes, townhomes, or condominiums.
Here's an example of a single-family home in a co-housing community known as Elderberry Village
Initially, co-housing communities were intended for families who wanted to be closer to each other and raise their children together, which meant the neighborhoods were multigenerational. However, today we are seeing more co-housing communities being developed specifically for individuals who are over the age of 50. Why is that? Well, many people in today's society are not down for the whole preparing to live in a retirement home or giving in to the myth that one day they will end up in a nursing home. In previous posts, I have touched on loneliness AND aging in place with reference to getting older. Co-housing can be a solution for individuals who desire social interaction and wish to age in place. Since more people are starting to see this as a way of killing two birds with one stone (I do not support animal cruelty..lol), we can expect to see more of these neighborhoods continue to develop in the future.
Things to Expect
In a co-housing community, like anywhere else, you have to pay the bills, bills, bills.
1. Monthly rent/mortgage payments.
2. Utilities may be bundled and split amongst residents or separate.
3. Possible Membership fees.
4. Responsible for the upkeep of the common house and maintaining commonly owned grounds.
5. Other co-housing community rules
The residents of each co-housing community play a major role in its design and operation and this is not an overnight process. Take a look at the chart below to get a better understanding.
3 Reasons to Consider Co-housing
1. Social Engagement: Social connection + a sense of purpose + decreased loneliness = co-housing
Some people yearn for social connection. Co-housing allows everyone to connect with each other and have unique roles in the community, which gives them a sense of purpose. Residents come together to plan community events, meals, and develop relationships. It is definitely a place to go where everyboooody knows your naaame (*in my Cheers sitcom singing voice). This can be an advantage, especially if one of the residents becomes ill. There's nothing like being sick and having a friend walk over to bring you Chic-fil-A soup. Having a support system as we continue to age is a must when it comes to enhancing the quality of life.
2. Aging in Place: Aging in place + universal design = co-housing
Earlier I mentioned aging in place and how co-housing communities could be a great way to accomplish that. Of course, that would mean we should all begin looking into something like this...TODAY, considering the planning process can be lengthy. Co-housing communities can be universally designed, which would accommodate us at any age and in the long run cost us less money.
3. Merging of Skills: Learning together + having new experiences = co-housing
The older I get, the more I focus on ways to keep my mind sharp and challenge myself mentally. Studies show that learning new skills is a great way to keep your brain sharp. When you live in a community with people who have different skill sets and experiences, imagine what type of learning will go on between you and all of the other residents.
Something to Think About..
Every day we learn something new. There are so many people who have never heard of co-housing communities. It is definitely something to think about as we continue to age. Living near my homies, or even family would definitely encourage me to participate in the development of a co-housing community. If you've never heard of co-housing and you believe this is a neighborhood that could potentially work for you, and your friends/family then find out more about co-housing communities right here!