Senior Resources » What’s the Difference Between Cohousing and Shared Housing for Seniors?

What’s the Difference Between Cohousing and Shared Housing for Seniors?

Two types of retirement living that have been gaining some major popularity among 55-plus adults are cohousing and shared housing. While their names suggest the two are one and the same – they’re not! In fact, each lifestyle choice is pretty unique in its own way, making either a suitable choice for retirees looking to share space. Let’s talk about what makes cohousing and shared housing different from one another.


What is Cohousing?

cohousing header

Cohousing is an intentional neighborhood designed to foster connection. Residents live in clusters of homes or condos centered around shared space. Cohousing embraces community involvement as a lifestyle; participation, companionship, inclusion, and trust are all common ideologies that drive a community. Residents share everything from mealtimes to cleaning and laundry duties and even celebrations and holidays.

What is Shared Housing?

shared housing header

Shared housing is when two or more people share a living space for mutual benefit. More or less, it’s having a roommate or a housemate. In a home-share environment, there’s usually a head-tenant and a sub-tenant. The two (or more) work out and agree on terms which often include rent and housework in exchange for room and board.


What Makes Cohousing and Shared Housing So Different?

thinking about cohousing and shared housing

Although both exist in shared spaces and largely depend on resident involvement, these two lifestyles are not completely alike. Cohousing refers to an entire community. Neighbors live in their own homes and share communal spaces. They work together on things like gardening, laundry, and even policy-making decisions. Within a home-share, tenants live in the same house or apartment and share communal space, but have separate private bedrooms (and maybe bathrooms).

Should Seniors Choose Cohousing or Shared Housing as Their Retirement Lifestyle?

shrugging man in front of colorful houses

Well, that depends. Do you like the thought of living in the same home as someone else, where you can cook together, clean together, and split the rent? Then shared housing might be for you. Would you rather live close to your neighbors, work and play together, but have your own private space to go home to at night? Well, then cohousing might be right for you.

Find Cohousing Near Me

If you’re looking for cohousing near you, then start here.

Find Shared Housing Near Me

If you’re looking for shared housing near you, then start here.


More helpful resources:

Senior Home Sharing

Odd Couples Housing

Popular Articles About Cohousing, and Shared Housing

Originally published January 17, 2024


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