Towards Age Friendly Sustainable Communities: Aging in Place with Cohousing

By Janet Frick.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this research project is to examine the function of age friendly sustainable communities as a setting for aging in place, within the model of “cohousing.” The study included three Salt Lake County housing communities: Kelly Benson (KB), Hi-Rise Senior Housing (HRSH), and Wasatch Commons (WC), which are located in the United States within the western state of Utah. KB is a government public housing complex for previously chronic homeless older adults. HRSH is also public housing for older adults. Both communities have a majority of residents who qualify as low income. WC is a private cohousing community of diverse residential occupancy with respect to age segregation and socio-economics. The study compares and contrasts three housing communities by assessing them through comparing and contrasting three common themes: socialization, safety and domestic economics. Analysis of qualitative observational data suggests that the three themes, when taken together, serve to develop social capital. More importantly, depending on the amount or balance of each theme, it will determine the level of social capital that will increase an older adult’s sustainability age in place. Results of this study can be used to implement a housing model that has provably achieved self-sufficiency for Kelly Benson’s older adult residents and has permitted them to age in place. Future research recommendation is to add the dimension of well being to the three themes in order to factor in the psychological benefits from social activity.

Keywords: Older Adults, Cohousing, Aging in Place, Age Friendly Community, Sustainable

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2012, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 617.040KB).

Janet Frick

Volunteer Coordinator, Aging Services' Transportation Program, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Recently, I graduated from the University of Utah College of Nursing with a Master of Science in gerontology. It was interdisciplinary with the College of City and Metropolitan Planning to expand my knowledge in order to become an environmental gerontologist, examining spatial relationships with respect to the interdependency among residents and their social settings. The academic research paper is based on my final Master’s research project. However, for the past seven years as the volunteer coordinator with Salt Lake County Aging Services’ Transportation Program, I have assisted several thousand Salt Lake County older adults by providing them with rides to their essential medical appointments and to grocery stores, allowing individuals to sustainably live independently and age in place.