As mature women reach a point in their lives where they seek a sense of community and connection, co-housing emerges as a powerful solution.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, co-housing communities can offer a supportive and empowering environment where people of a certain age can thrive. Originating in Denmark in the 1960s the movement has grown across Scandinavia, Germany and the United States. In these intentional neighbourhoods, residents gather to share resources, responsibilities, and experiences, enabling them to build strong connections with their fellow community members.
By embracing the principles of co-housing, mature women in particular can enjoy the benefits of living in a close-knit community while retaining their independence. Through shared living spaces, communal activities, and a focus on inclusivity, co-housing provides a platform for ladies to cultivate meaningful relationships and create lifelong friendships. It allows them to pool their resources and skills, ensuring a support network that extends far beyond the traditional confines of a neighbourhood.
With residents aged from 58 to 94, New Ground is the UK’s first cohousing community exclusively for women in their golden years, a purpose-built development entirely managed by the women who set it up in 2016 as an alternative to living alone.
Anything but dull and boring, New Ground comprises 25 flats with 26 residents (there is one married couple), eight of which are social rental units. Homes overlook a garden blooming with wildflowers, berries and an orchard. The common meeting room is used for weekly dinners, film nights and yoga classes. There is also a guest suite for overnight visitors.
“Many of us still work, others volunteer and are active in the community. Someone might come in here and think OK, we are all of an age, but you can’t define us as old,” explains Jude Tisdall, 71, an arts consultant living at the New Ground.
According to The Guardian, turning the vision of New Ground into a reality took 18 years of intensive development, education, networking and many, many meetings.
Maria Brenton, a UK Cohousing Network’s senior ambassador, was instrumental in facilitating New Ground. “The women who started this were adamant that they didn’t want to sit in a day room singing Daisy Daisy and Pack Up Your Troubles for the rest of their lives,” she says. “We were fiercely opposed to the ageism and paternalism, the infantilisation of older people by social care services.”
Here, women manage everything themselves and tasks are divided up among teams of volunteers responsible for maintenance, gardening, communications, cleaning and legal issues. Their motto? “We look out for each other; we don’t look after each other.” Age is a privilege, after all.
Would you consider co-housing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.