Ready for Ageing debate

As part of the ‘Ready for Ageing’ debate in the House of Lords on 17th October Ros Wilkins, having declared her interest in Cohousing Woodside, once again advocated cohousing as a way of living that combines today’s aspiration for the autonomy of our own homes with being within a supportive community.

“It is a model well established in continental Europe, where senior cohousing communities are encouraged by various Governments also faced with rapidly ageing societies. They are based on a range of ages over 50 and are a self-help model—fundamentally a means of prevention, harnessing the energies of younger cohorts of older people to address their own futures and help others.”

She touched on the slow progress of OWCH over the past 10 years and attributes Hanover Housing Association’s insightful initiative to support senior cohousing as an example that others should follow.

“This model of cohousing deserves much greater official support and encouragement in a housing and planning system where the cards are totally stacked against it. Hanover’s enterprise in promoting it is to be applauded and lessons need to be learnt from the 14 groups around the country struggling to develop senior cohousing. The authorities must be shaken out of their torpor by the report of the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, and start to take radical action. So much could and should be done. The Government could do much to offer incentives to developers and local authorities. For instance, they could provide public land from public housing sites.

Cohousing is obviously not the answer to societal ageing, but it is one answer, and one that makes full use of the assets of our older population.”