The housing marketplace has many options that are aimed specifically at meeting the needs of older people. Many older people become interested in ‘downsizing’ after children leave home and their family home becomes too big to meet their needs. Some may consider moving into a retirement village, a residential land lease community or another form of retirement living. Later in life, older people may come to need a higher level of aged care. Collaborative retirement is about applying the principles of collaborative housing to these options.
What makes retirement living collaborative?
A collaborative retirement could involve adopting one of the collaborative housing models profiled in this web guide, rather than moving into a traditional retirement living option. Living with family or friends in a small collaborative property, or collaboratively developing a larger property opens up possibilities for shared care and informal support as we age.
Or, it could mean engaging with a retirement living provider to bring principles of collaborative housing to more conventional retirement living options. This could include:
Engaging in the design of a new retirement living property to ensure it meets your housing needs. Some retirement living providers offer participatory design opportunities for future residents when developing new properties. For example, IRT has involved future residents in the design process for a cohousing development at their Henry Brooks Estate adjacent to a retirement village.
Encouraging retirement living providers to offer more shared space to complement private space
Getting involved in governance and management of properties once you’ve moved in to build a sense of community and make sure collective needs are met
Seeking out opportunities for sharing of resources and informal support for each other in existing properties.
What are the benefits?
A collaborative approach to retirement offers many of the benefits of collaborative housing described here. In particular, collaborative retirement can help older people to:
Age in place in a community that they feel connected to
Avoid feeling isolated as they age by ensuring they are part of a supportive community
Offer a sense of purpose through the opportunity of governance and management of properties
Provide opportunities for informal care and support from other residents, as well as making live-in care more feasible due to concentration of need in one place
Reduce costs and environmental impact by sharing resources and equipment.
Who is it for?
A collaborative approach to retirement is for anyone that wants to be part of a supportive community as they age. There are numerous options to cater for different community sizes, preferences of who to live with, affordability and built form. For example, there are specific models that bring together older and younger people, that cater for the housing needs of older women, and that can work for renters.