INNOVATIONS IN SENIOR HOUSING:The Complete Guide to CohousingFunded by

ContentsContributors . 5Preface . 5Executive Summary . 6Part 1: INTRODUCTION . 7Introducing Innovations in Senior Housing: Cohousing. 7Purpose of this Guide . 8Growing Seniors Population in Canada: An asset and opportunity, not a burden . 8Part 2: CO-CARE . 10Social Isolation: homecare vs. co-care. 10How does co-care work? . 11Philosophy of Cohousing for Seniors . 13The case for aging well in Community . 14Figure 1: Aging Well in Community Matrix . 15The Social Innovation . 18Applying and implementing the principles of co-care and cohousing: exploring innovations in seniorhousing . 18Part 3: CASE STUDIES. 19The Origins of Cohousing – A Danish Housing and Social Innovation . 19Origins of Senior Cohousing. 20Senior Cohousing in Canada . 21Wolf Willow (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) . 21Traditional Model: Harbourside Cohousing (Sooke, British Columbia) . 22Faith-Based Models. 27Glacier Circle (Davis, California). 27ElderSprit (Abingdon, Virginia) . 28Affordability Models. 29Petaluma Avenue Homes Cohousing (Sebastopol, California). 29Casa Velasco (Oakland, California) . 30Lilac (Leeds, UK) . 30Older Women’s Cohousing (Barton, UK). 31Adapted & retrofitted models . 332

Solterra Co-housing Ltd. 33Neighbourhood Village Model . 35Part 4: APPLYING THE PRINCIPLES OF SENIOR COHOUSING . 37How to Create New-Build Cohousing – Steps toward building new communities . 37Step 1: What if?. 37Step 2: ‘What if?’ leads to ‘why not?’ through education . 38Step 3: Who is invited?. 40Step 4: How do you make it real? . 43Step 5: Where and how do we want to live? . 45Step 6: What professionals do you want/need for your project? . 46Step 7: Design and build the community. 51Conclusion . 52What to do and what not to do in creating cohousing (in no particular order) . 53How to Create Retrofit Cohousing – Applying the principles of senior-cohousing to existinghomes and communities . 54Step-by-step approach. 54Gauge community interest and potential . 55Involve the local community. 55Develop a core group and assess needs & opportunities . 56Planning and prevention . 56Finding and developing support . 56Mutual support . 56Wider community support . 57Government and agencies support . 57Quick-start projects . 58Retrofit models and communities. 58Faith-based groups . 58Condominiums . 59Neighbourhood ‘Village’ . 59Co-operative housing. 60Not-for-profit affordable housing . 61Part 5: CONCLUSION. 623

Reference List . 63APPENDIX 1: COHOUSING RESOURCES . 66Appendix: Making Senior Cohousing Affordable . 69Appendix: Templates and surveys . 70Co-care Survey . 70Housing Adaptations Survey . 71Social Opportunities Survey . 72Education and Training. 734

ContributorsMargaret Critchlow, Canadian Senior Cohousing SocietyAndrew Moore, Canadian Senior Cohousing SocietyRupert Downing, Community Social Planning CouncilDibya Shrestha, Community Social Planning CouncilMarika Albert, Community Social Planning CouncilStefanie Hardman, Community Social Planning CouncilPrefaceThe Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and Canadian Senior Cohousing Society havedeveloped this guide, generously funded by the Real Estate Foundation of BC, with the aim of exploringinnovative solutions to senior housing needs in Canada.This guide is a product of diverse backgrounds and unique experiences, based mainly on the experienceof two of the founding members of BC’s first senior cohousing project, Harbourside in Sooke, BC. Thesefounding members, Margaret Critchlow and Andrew Moore, created this guide to help make similarprojects accessible and affordable to a wide range of communities throughout Canada.Margaret Critchlow is an anthropologist with research experience in the Pacific island country of Vanuatuas well as Ontario housing cooperatives. She retired from York University (Toronto) and lives with herhusband John in Harbourside Cohousing. Andrew is an architect experienced in community developmentand the creation of cooperatives. He works as Special Projects Manager for the T’Sou-ke Nation and liveswith his wife Gail on a rural property near Sooke.The Community Social Planning Council and funding from the BC Real Estate Foundation have supportedAndrew and Margaret to distill what they learned together and on their separate paths. Their hope is thatthis Guide will encourage the creation of more cohousing that increases both community connection andprivacy, and gives more Canadians an opportunity to flourish through mutual support.5

Executive SummaryAn unprecedented demographic shift looms on Canada’s horizon: an aging population means seniors willsoon make up a large proportion of the nation’s population – a change that will require many servicesand institutions to adapt and respond. Rather than seeing this shift as a burden to nervously anticipate,Canada’s aging population can be viewed as an opportunity, and one that drives innovation.A new senior housing movement has recently been brought to Canada: Senior Cohousing, which offerspromise to address some of the needs, housing and beyond, for an aging population. More than simply anew design of housing, Senior Cohousing represents a conceptual shift in our cultural approach to agingand living in community.Cohousing is an intentional community design that emerged out of Denmark in the 1960s, whichcombines the independence and autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of commonamenities and a village-style support system. The community is planned, managed, and often owned bythe residents through participatory and democratic decision-making processes. Cohousing is a housinginnovation with plentiful benefits, including social, environmental, and economic benefits. Cohousing hasbeen adapted into “Senior Cohousing” to meet the unique needs of residents in their later years, whichmay involve an emphasis on universal design, accessibility, and safety, co-caring and mutual support, orwhatever else may emerge to meet the needs of residents.This guide on Innovations in Senior Housing explores how Senior Cohousing and other relatedinnovations can help meet housing needs in Canada. The Guide is based on researching innovativemodels of housing and community living in Canada and elsewhere in order to determine best practicesthat can be explored in communities across Canada to meet housing needs for interested seniors. Theintention is not to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather offer inspiration and a framework forcommunities to work towards an arrangement that meets their unique needs.This Guide begins by framing the issue of Canada’s aging population and offers senior cohousing as away to meet the needs of an aging population, which can promote thriving rather than just surviving. Part2, focusing on “co-care,” identifies fundamental values and philosophies of senior cohousing that nurtureaging in well in community as opposed to aging in isolation which results from current models of care.Part 3 presents a series of case studies, from Canada and beyond, of communities that demonstratedifferent models of innovations in senior housing. Part 4 focuses on applying the principles of seniorscohousing to various arrangements, whether creating new build or adapting existing communities, inorder to enable people to age healthily in their communities.This Guide is intended to inspire seniors, or soon-to-be seniors, seeking alternatives to the conventionaloptions to support their aging. It is also intended influence land use and real estate practice as well aspublic policy by promoting models of housing development that meet the continuum of needs anddemand for senior housing.6

Part 1: INTRODUCTIONAn unprecedented demographic shift is being nervously anticipated by all levels of social institutions,from international organizations such as the World Health Organization to local municipalities, the privatesector, grassroots groups, families, and individuals. Canadians are living 25 years longer than they did atthe beginning of the twentieth century1 and seniors are expected to make up a significant proportion ofthe population in the coming decades. While there is much fearful anticipation about this shift, this gift oflongevity can become a blessing and not a burden if it is used to live full, active, healthy lives and todevelop ways of aging well in community through neighbourly mutual support. Many of the currentsolutions, from health care to housing, are likely to be deemed inadequate. One innovative solution thatcan be adapted to meet this need in Canada is Senior Cohousing.Introducing Innovations in Senior Housing: CohousingCohousing is a neighbourhood design that combines the independence of private homes with theadvantages of common amenities and a village-style support system. These housing communities notonly take into account safe physical surroundings but also focus on improving social, care, financial andenvironmental consideration both in the short and long term to ensure resilient residents and sustainablesenior communities. In Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, senior cohousing hassupported aging in place for over thirty years, whilst addressing the problem of isolation posed by agingat home. There are now many fast growing projects in the United States too.A movement is also starting in Canada with the first senior cohousing project completed in Saskatoon anda second opening in 2016 in Sooke, BC. The demand for this type of housing is demonstrated by theSooke project selling all 31 units before construction started and having a substantial waiting list. Moresenior cohousing groups are forming across Canada including on Vancouver Island and in the CapitalRegional District.In addition to building more senior cohousing projects, there is a strong case for retrofitting the principlesof senior cohousing to existing communities such as condominiums, faith-based groups, neighbourhoodvillages, housing co-operatives and even trailer parks – anywhere where elderly people traditionally liveand gather.Senior cohousing has already spawned another important social innovation: that of ‘co-caring,’ theneighbourly mutual support that extended families and villages have been providing for centuries, butwhich this guide is redefining and integrating into what can become ‘traditional communities of thefuture.’1Statistics Canada (2015b).7

Purpose of this GuideThis How-to Guide for Innovations in Senior Housing is based on researching innovative models ofhousing and community living in Canada and elsewhere, and applying best practices to different forms ofsenior housing that enable people to age healthily in their communities. The Guide is intended toinfluence land use, real estate practices, and public policy by promoting models of housing developmentthat meet the continuum of need and demand for senior housing.The continuum of need should be met with a continuum of solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.This guide is hoping to inspire the exploration of options that suit particular communities and theirunique needs. There are a variety of ways to implement the principals and practices of co-caring andcohousing. Solutions can range from constructing new-build housing communities, to adapting andretrofitting existing ones.While this guide was generated from the experience of founding the new Harbourside Cohousingdevelopment in Sooke, we present a variety of models of co-caring and cohousing in different settings,inclusive of affordable options that meet the needs of those on low income.The examples highlighted in the Guide will help sustain independent community living for the increasingproportion of the seniors population that do not require assisted or institutional housing but are lookingfor solutions to social isolation. These will help them to maintain the quality of life and health that theydesire.Growing Seniors Population in Canada: An asset and opportunity, not a burdenSometime in the next few years, seniors will outnumber children for the first time in the history of theworld.2 In Canada, the number of seniors 65 and older has already surpassed the number of children 14and under, with seniors making up over 16 per cent of the population, according to Statistics Canada.3 Asbaby boomers – those born from 1946 to 1965 – reach retirement age over the next two decades, theywill raise the number of seniors in the population to an estimated 23.6 per cent by 2030, the year theyoungest baby boomers turn 65.4 There will be approximately 10 million residents over the age of 65 inCanada by 2035,5 all requiring some degree of health and care services over several decades.Instead of seeing this shift as a potential burden on society, seniors can be seen to be a major economicdriver for a community. Add the increased fitness and leisure time longevity brings and seniors becomemajor consumers of products and services as they stay active, healthy, and engaged and continue toparticipate in the community in which they live.2World Health Organization (2012).3Statistics Canada (2015a).Ibid.45Ibid.8

On reaching the age of 55, a person in Canada can expect, on average, to live another 30 years.6 How canwe ensure that this gift of longevity does not become a burden to ourselves, family, friends, and state?The aim of Senior Cohousing is to transform the challenges into opportunities. If we can come out ofdenial and embrace what is ahead then we can creatively envision, plan, and implement supports andconnections to ensure that later life can be enjoyed rather than endured.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has identified four stages in the senior aging process:7Pre-seniors55 - 64Younger Seniors65 - 74Older Seniors75 – 84Elderly Seniors85 Instead of grouping all seniors in one needy demographic it can be shown that individuals’ assets andneeds will usually change throughout this aging period. In the pre-seniors and younger seniors and oftenolder seniors’ group individuals are generally at a point where the conditions of their lives are such thatthey can relax and even flourish. They have skills, time, experience, funds, and fewer responsibilities andinstead of being a drag on society, as much of the media is projecting, they often have the ability andgenerosity to provide the backbone of a strong tradition of community volunteering. Our society can usethe early senior years to plan and prepare for less abundant times. Younger seniors could use their early senior years to face reality, get out of denial, adjust theirhousing, create community networks of support, develop preventative measures for health andprepare to live within their financial means for what lies ahead -- and have fun doing it. Through mutual support, these seniors can help those elderly seniors in greater need to continueto participate and grow within the community in which they live. These seniors, when elderly,could come to rely on a culture that would encourage younger seniors to support them in turn.6Ibid.7Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (2012).9

Part 2: CO-CARECO-CARE: How to flourish through mutual supportFlourish: “To grow well. To be healthy.” - Merriam-Webster DictionaryCo-care is a cohousing community principle that can be adapted to other living arrangements. Itis a grassroots model of voluntary, neighbourly mutual support that can help reduce socialisolation and promote flourishing -- positive, active aging -- to the end of one’s days. Co-careencourages independence through awareness that we are all interdependent.Co-care revolutionizes conventional approaches to aging. It encourages an emphasis on flourishing -active, positive, socially-engaged, independent aging -- instead of focusing on the increasing needs ofaging Canadians for health care and institutional support. The design principles of cohousing support cocare by encouraging casual, social interaction and by providing opportunities for privacy as well ascommunity.As revolutionary as it is, co-care is not new. It is as basic to human social structure as parenting, but it canbe as invisible as the elderly often are in today’s Canadian society. In the same way that parents look afterchildren without expecting reciprocity, neighbours often informally turn to each other in times of need. Ifthey know and respect each other, it doesn’t take an emergency to bring out the desire to help oneanother. “I’ll give you a ride,” or “Can you water my plants while I’m away?” Such simple, neighbourlysupport is always helpful, but it can become crucial for an older person living alone.The focus of co-care is social. Co-care can interface with, but does not replace, personal and medicalassistance. Neighbourly mutual support is a timeless tradition, but formalizing it as “co-care” is relativelynew.Social Isolation: homecare vs. co-careSocial isolation alone is now believed to trigger many emergency room visits from seniors who are simplylonely and failing to thrive.8 Homecare through the medical system often fails to provide satisfying socialcontact for isolated seniors. The shortfalls of homecare include staff turnover – which means seeingsomeone different at your door each time – and limitations on what home care workers can offer. As aCommunity Health Worker explains, “If something isn’t in the care plan, I can’t do it, no matter howsimple it is. I can’t chat or socialize with clients at all, take out the garbage, make toast or a snack.Clients ask me to do little things, and they get frustrated when I can’t do it – they are not in charge ofthe services.”98British Columbia Ministry of Health (2004).9Cohen, M. & Franko, J. (2015).10

Co-care offers control back to the people who are aging together. They are in charge in the cohousingmodel and, we believe, this approach of co-care can become an important piece of the puzzle thatsupports aging well in other housing situations beyond cohousing. People can support each otherthrough such simple activities as doing errands, driving, cooking, or going for a walk with a neighbour. Astheir connection with each other deepens over time and through shared experiences, they may findthemselves doing things for each other that they would not have dreamed of when they moved in.Co-care supports independence through awareness that we are all interdependent. Co-care encouragesmembers to look after themselves and to lead healthy lifestyles, but also to ask for what theyneed. “While volunteers help as much as needed during the illness, they encourage, stimulate andfacilitate a way for the person to return to personal independence as much as possible and as soon asthey are able,“ as an ElderSpirit community member explains.10How does co-care work?The values underlying co-care are to: (1) develop an ability to ask for what you need; (2) give what youwilling; and (3) receive assistance with grace. For most people, giving is the easiest, although participantsoften have to learn to set boundaries so they do not “burn out.” The experience of ElderSpirit suggeststhat learning how to ask for help is the most challenging aspect of co-care for most people in ourindividualistic society. Becoming comfortable accepting assistance is also difficult for many. Workingtogether informally and in workshops so members accept these values is an integral part of introducing apractice of co-care in any community.11At ElderSpirit, members are encouraged to choose two Neighbourly Care Coordinators fromamong their fellow members. These are the people they will turn to first when an illness oraccident creates a need for some assistance. The person who needs help works with theirNeighbourly Care Coordinators to set up a plan. Additionally, the Care Committee posts a signupsheet where members can indicate what tasks they are willing to help with in general. TheNeighbourly Care Coordinators consult this list to find people to support the member in crisis. Inthis way, members can support each other to continue to live in the cohousing community.It is important to be clear that co-care is not a substitute for assisted living. Neighbourly CareCoordinators do not commit to provide personal care or medical support; yet they support each other tostay in the cohousing community rather than needing institutional care. They do this by creating andcoordinating a plan to bring in medical and social support for a member who needs more help thanneighbours can provide. Caring neighbours can help a member find a suitable institution or plan for endof life care. But many are able to live out their days in cohousing with just a little co-care from their10Boyle, M. (2012).11Glass, Anne P. (2012).11

neighbours. Being good neighbours who give and receive mutual support helps cohousing members agewell in community and have fun doing it.As co-care develops in a particular cohousing or other residential community, variations on the pattern ofone-to-one support emerge. These can include some or all of the following, which a co-care workinggroup made up of residents might catalyse. Share the Care: When someone needs a lot of support, this model provides a template fororganizing care and reducing caregiver fatigue. Care administration: Co-ordinating care givers from government and private agencies so thatthey can be more efficient and see several people during a single visit to the residentialcommunity. Co-ordinating own on-site resident care givers.Advocating: Ensuring residents get best quality service and subsidies available Arranging adaptation retrofits – grab bars, ramps, flashing lights instead of bells for hard ofhearing, etc. Starting Consumer or Worker Care Co-op for cohousing group and wider society. Creating group insur

A new senior housing movement has recently been brought to Canada: Senior Cohousing, which offers promise to address some of the needs, housing and beyond, for an aging population. .