For the world’s future, how to deal with the issue of growing elderly people in different country is important. This means the new century do ask care for the new cohorts of the elderly which are not the same as the past in terms of their different living experience. In other words, how to meet their needs is the key to find out the proper solutions for improving the quality of life for the elder people. Housing is relatively vital while shaping better future. Therefore, the senior cohousing does have the ability to suit the housing needs of the elderly who ask for companionship with their neighbors in the community.
A cohousing community is an intentional community which includes private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The residents living in it could plan, own and manage the community by themselves including sharing different activities. The meaning of the senior cohousing scheme for the elderly people is to meet their need of spending their later life in a house where they can enjoy other’s companion and mutually support. It is necessary to point out that the senior cohousing community is not the only choice for the elderly people; moreover, the cohousing cannot replace the function of nursing home which provides unique professional care.
This article was written for investigating life of senior cohousing community in the countries of Denmark and Sweden. The investigation includes aspects of characteristics of residents, community planning and common activities. That is to say, evaluation towards physical environment, activities, moving motivations, life satisfaction are made to give suggestions and design inspirations for architects, designers and also the decision-makers involved with elderly welfare sector. After clarify some key questions during the investigation, the most important part of the article is no doubt the Findings and Discussion section.
The first difference for the two countries is the senior cohousing community’s initiative. Danish communities have been established by intensive involvement of future residents group in cooperation with municipality authorities, architects and builders. However, Swedish communities have been established mainly by non-profit or private housing companies rather than by future residents group. That is to say, the Swedish communities’ resident groups in are relatively more anonymous users compared to the Danish one. This difference is useful to know for the different impact which the different participation in the initiative stage of senior cohousing community brings. In other words, the Swedish community is the municipality-initiated while the Danish belongs to residents-initiated.
The article shows the investigating results including of age, healthy conditions, community planning and physical environment. Under the title of physical environment, the survey towards the satisfaction about the quality of the building design, common facilities and dwelling unit. These three aspects are the key elements for influencing the quality of the cohousing community’s physical environment. On the other hand, the life within the community is also vital which means the common activity has been considered as one of the most important factors by the researchers. Therefore, this investigation also includes the types of and participation in the common activities’ evaluation. This section also contains the findings about other indicators related with residents’ life like motivation of moving in, support for daily living, preference to age composition of inhabitants, mutual cooperation with neighbors, recommendation senior cohousing to others and consideration of moving out.
At last, there are five main findings are given out.
1.The characteristics about the composition of residents in subject senior cohousing communities.
2.The features about community planning of senior cohousing scheme
3.The most happening activities in the community between residents
4.Other few indicators related with life in the senior cohousing community
5.The overall evaluation of life satisfaction in the senior cohousing.
To conclude, the most respondents are very satisfied with and proud of their housing and living in the senior cohousing community. The meaning of spreading the senior cohousing is not only for improving the quality of life but also for better municipality’s care and nursing services for the old people. This means the senior cohousing can provide the chance of mutual support among the residents. This is good for prolonging the independence of each resident and avoid the situation of the local public authorities need to take over responsibility of individual care for the whole day. As to building the senior cohousing community outside the Scandinavian countries, the recommendation for that is the role of establishing those communities should be divided into offering home-service and healthcare service. Besides, the method about involvement of future resident groups from the establishment stage of community is also suggested. Although the senior cohousing functions are easy to be successful at the beginning stage, still one has to consider priorities of the residents at a later stage.