Shared accommodation, an alternative to living with friends in old age

Cohousing is a new trend where adults over 50 come together to spend their days and live in a community.

Amid the loneliness crisis facing the world, especially older people, strategies have been developed to transform the final stages of people’s lives.

Under this premise, the concept of shared living has emerged as a great alternative to combat this phenomenon.

This is how “Bem Viver” (Good Life) was born, a project that brings together older people in 28 houses and community spaces in São Paulo, Brazil.

The head of the project, Norival de Oliveira, spoke to BBC News Brazil and explained that living in a community is a great help to escape loneliness.

“The older you get, the more isolated you tend to become. “The goal of such a community is to create more social coexistence and not allow older people to be left out,” he said.

All of this came about when this economist teamed up with his partner, the architect Ricardo Pessoa, and they set out to find an alternative to loneliness.

This is how they discovered cohousing, which has become a lifestyle where people have their own homes but also share some rooms with neighbors of the same age.

This concept first appeared in Denmark in the 1970s and has since been adopted in various parts of the world.

How does this cohousing project work?

In 2019, these two partners decided to create a peer community with which they could live harmoniously and combat loneliness.

Although several of their friends suggested them, many did not join the project for financial or personal reasons.

In this way, they contacted people who were over 50 years old and willing to live in shared accommodation.

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People had to pay a fee for a portion of the land and then cover the costs of building their own homes.

It is estimated that each home could be worth about $100,000, plus the land value, making the idea unviable for many retirees.

Over time, in 2022, they identified and purchased a property in the municipality of Mogi das Cruzes, in São Paulo.

The property has an area of ​​more than 63,000 square meters, many trees and a small natural lake.

When distributing them, the municipality decided that all houses to be built should be single-story and compact; There are also rooms designed specifically for older people, so the houses are not far from each other.

In front of the common areas, the project will include a swimming pool, gym, laundry, small square and orchards.

Residents will be between 56 and 79 years old. In the event of the owner’s death, his heirs can only use the house if they meet certain age requirements, otherwise he must sell it to a new resident.

Strictly speaking, it is the community that sets the rules, and therefore the owners cannot rent out or use these houses seasonally.

Bem Viver will welcome an entire community so that these people can become good friends as they enjoy their time in old age.

The truth is that the main goal of the project is to address the loneliness crisis experienced by older adults in several countries around the world.

In this way, this community aims to ensure the emotional well-being of older people and take care of their health as part of a new lifestyle as they grow older with their friends.

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