Part 2 of 3: How Entrepreneurship and Inter-generational living is changing the way we Age in Place: Co-Living, Co-buying and Shared Yards

By Eva Otto- Broker, Mes, LEED AP, Ecobroker,2018

How is Entrepreneurship and Intergenerational living changing the way we Age in Place?

Whether living with relatives, independently in a duplex, cottage or flat, or in a home shared with other individuals, traditional and new creative shared models of ownership and living together are becoming increasingly popular. Entrepreneurship can have a key role in helping seniors stay at home and have the choice to age in place.

Co-living: Sharing your Home

 This model is gaining interest as an affordable housing model and is specifically well catered to aging in place.  Co-Living models are non-ownership shared living models based on shared values and interests and come in different shapes and sizes.

Seniors and Students

One trend we’re seeing in the U.S. and around the world is a housing model that is addressing affordability for two different generations, both seniors and students. Nursing homes are now inviting students into residencies and Universities are inviting students to live off-campus with seniors. 

In the case of the nursing home students may be offered a residecy to live and provide service to seniors including art class, music class or something that aligns with their major. In other cases students may live with an independent senior and do a work exchange in place of paying rent including helping with chores, shopping or cooking, with the added benefit of social interaction and friendship.  Universities across the country are discovering that there’s actually a tremendous amount of untapped affordable housing options in cities across the country.

In places like New York City where the cost of living is extremely high, the cost of housing students is also incredibly high. Programs have been adopted at NYU that match University students with seniors who are aging in place. Students get their room and board reduced by 50% and the senior host gets a student to live with them and provide income.

Due to the popularity of this model of housing students at MIT developed a matchmaking app between older people who are aging in place and students. It is estimated that “…50 million bedrooms sit empty every night in the United States.”-Kathryn M. O’Neill, M.I.T. News Room, July 11, 2017

At a senior can fill out a profile and get matched up with a student and does the vetting of the students including background checks and more. “Nesterly targets both the affordability crisis and the aging population with a single integrated solution,” said cofounder Virginia Maloney, MBA ’17.

One thing that’s not often talked about as a result of intergeneration living is the social capital that arises out of this relationship between different generations including the sharing of wisdom, culture, enthusaim, trends, and values, support systems, happiness, friendships and the development of surrogate family bonds. The older generation has experience and knowledge to share, and the younger generation has new ideas and energy to share. Sharing your home can build your social capital and improve your health through human interaction. Living alone can lead to social isolation in some cases, and can cause health problems such as dementia and even led to early mortality. (

Co-Living: Sharing Your Yard

 In many cities around the country changes in zoning have allowed single-family parcels to densify into multi-family parcels and add additional household units to a single property. In some cases homeowners can build additional single family homes, and on a smaller scale in cities like Seattle single family lots are now zoned to allow one additional small structure known as a detached assessory dwelling unit (DADU), or backyard cottage. For properties that are located in these zones, there is an opportunity to share your yard and build additional dwellings that could be rented or sold.

Owners of these properties have an opportunity to develop the land themselves, or sell to a builder. One Seattle resident in the Fremont neighborhood is deciding to stay instead of sell. He is redeveloping his single family home into 4 separate single family home units and he plans to live in one of the homes.

There’s an elementary school within walking distance. There is also one additional bedroom; an Attached Dwelling Unit on it and there’s a very strong community oriented design with a courtyard and rooftop decks with great views. What is important about this story is that the owner who had owned the house for a long time decided instead of selling it to a builder or developer, he was going to redevelop it and he was going to redevelop it with the community focus. This long time resident looked around and he saw what was being built by other builders and he didn’t like those designs and he wanted to embellish the community, he wanted to stay in the community and help to create the neighborhood that he wants to live in.  He will be renting out three of the units and living in the single family; not necessarily maximizing his rents; but providing affordable housing for a community that has expressed the need for housing in order to remain in this colorful, vibrant and artistic community of Fremont.  For similar models of Sharing your Yard See Infiniti’s Blog Post “Yes! In my Backyard”  discussing Architect Rex Hohlbein’s Block Project.



 Next week, watch for:

 AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR AGING IN PLACE:Part 3 of 3: Cooperative Housing, Micro Housing andTiny Homes

By Eva Otto- Broker, Mes, LEED AP, Ecobroker, 2018



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