EcoVillage, a co-housing community in Ithaca, NY.

Born in Denmark in the 1970s, the co-housing concept has been gaining ground in the U.S., where more than 150 such communities exist, according to the Cohousing Association of the United States.

Bloomberg/BusinessWeek contributor Karen Angel notes that senior-only co-housing developments are growing in popularity, with 10 completed in recent years and 14 in progress. Angel writes:

The cooperative nature of co-housing reverses the typical pattern of retirees becoming more isolated as they age. At EcoVillage, teams of residents cook for the communal meals held three times a week and maintain the grounds. There are frequent movie nights and special celebrations. The Community Health and Aging Team (CHAT) brings meals to ill and homebound residents and arranges transportation to doctor appointments. “It makes me feel younger to associate with all these younger people,” says Richard Hepburn, 82, a retired pilot and EcoVillage resident who had meals delivered by CHAT after having thyroid surgery in January.

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