Intergenerational Cohousing: A New Senior Living Trend

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 25 May 2011

The aptly named “Mosaic Commons” community in Berlin, Massachusetts, may be the start of an intriguing new trend in retirement living: intergenerational cohousing.

A branch off senior cohousing (i.e. a group of boomers who purchase a cluster of attached homes, condos, or apartments together, then share some meals, outdoor space, and facilities/equipment), intergenerational cohousing is essentially the same, just a little less exclusive when it comes to the age of residents.

AARP’s recent post about Mosaic Commons indicates that the residents of this community range in age 8 months to 73 years old.

As in the senior cohousing arrangement, intergenerational cohousing inhabitants share common areas, which vary depending on the design of that particular community; this design is driven by the residents/joint property owners, who decide if they want a rec room, shared kitchen/dining space,  exercise studio, or something else.

Besides sharing space, senior residents (who often feel like “surrogate grandparents”, as per the AARP piece) and their younger counterparts befriend and support each other, pitching in during a snowstorm or making meals after an extended illness, among other things.

Architect Charles Durrett has designed 50 of these projects in the US thus far. He believes that about 300 of these new senior living options will be available nationwide by 2020.

- Michelle Seitzer


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