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    Rights statement: [url] The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Ageing and Society, ?? (?), pp ?-? 2019, © 2019 Cambridge University Press.

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Interdependence, commitment, learning and love: The case of the United Kingdom's first older women's co-housing community

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/02/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Ageing and Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date20/02/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Housing options for older people in the United Kingdom (UK) have been rather limited to remaining living 'independently' in one's own home and some variant of institutionally provided, pre-established and age-exclusive housing such as retirement communities, extra-care or sheltered housing. However, interest in alternative forms of housing and living which align more closely with the expectations of those currently entering later life is steadily growing. In this paper, we present some findings from original, mixed-methods research on the UK's only established example of senior co-housing, which also happens to be women only. Through thematic analysis, we explore two key questions about this important social experiment: (a) is this a model merely for the dedicated, activist and privileged few, as is often presumed; and (b) what might it tell us about post-traditional ageing. Is it merely a retirement lifestyle choice and identity project, grounded in logics of age denial, activity, choice, individualism and risk management? Our findings cannot be conclusive at this stage, but they do suggest a new model of later-life dwelling for the UK based on more collectivist values of inter-dependence, commitment, learning and, even, love.