Loneliness among older adults is a rising epidemic in Canada. Statistics Canada reports more than one million seniors say they’re lonely. Being alone has profound health consequences too. It lowers cognitive function. It increases premature death as well as the risk of heart attack, stroke, depression and the risk of falls. The solution for this issue seems to be found in a movement that took off in the ’70s in Denmark, and is a growing trend in Canada among seniors.
It’s called Co-housing and Barb Coughlin, 71, Mary Townley, 71, and Phyllis Brady, 66 — all baby boomers and long-time friends — who had been alone, two of them for decades, decided to shake up their housing arrangement and try it out. So they sold their homes, did a serious cleanse of material goods, and purchased a home together in London, Ont. “We didn’t like living alone anymore. We didn’t laugh very much,” Coughlin said.
“It really is a beautiful model,” said Adriana Shnall, an expert on aging at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. “By living together people have a community. And especially people who lived in a family, a partner, children. You get older. You lose all those supports that are inherent to living with others.” Now the three “Golden Girls” don’t have to spend their days alone and they can watch out for each other with regard to their health and any potential falls; they even made sure to get a home with as few stairs as possible. It also helps with the financial situation as they share the bills.
Your Good News Story of the Day explores the idea of Co-housing with Barb, Mary, and Phyllis as they prepare a pre-Christmas meal and you can find out more about the issues of lonely seniors and the benefits of this optional arrangement in the link here.
Story and Image from CBC.