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Co-housing and intergenerational exchange: exchange of housing equity for personal care assistance in intentional communities

Michele Coele (Independent Writer based at Oxford, UK)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 3 June 2014




The purpose of this paper is to suggest that it should be possible to devise mechanisms which will enable communities to address the changing assistance needs of disabled and older residents whilst giving younger resident assistants an equity stake in the housing market. The existence of such mechanisms on a national scale would facilitate mobility between otherwise independent communities and maximise the choices available to residents requiring different forms of assistance at different stages in their lives.


The paper draws upon the author's personal experience of exchanging accommodation with a team of assistants. The author considers how this model could be made more sustainable and replicable. Action research is needed to explore similar models within the context of intentional communities.


Two pressing social challenges could have a unified solution. Cohousing provides potential for people to remain within an intergenerational community as they grow older and develop assistance needs, while providing accommodation equity. Today's “baby boomer” generation may contribute to less advantaged future generations by leaving behind them dedicated housing for assistants in order to make sure that such provision is present within communities in perpetuity.


As a disabled person, the author had found it interesting to actively explore with younger people the impact upon both generations of issues around housing equity. The author has already, and would like to test further, the potential of nonmonetary exchange within intentional communities.



Coele, M. (2014), "Co-housing and intergenerational exchange: exchange of housing equity for personal care assistance in intentional communities", Working with Older People, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 75-81.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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