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Choice of residence in old age is a tropic of growing interest. In the UK the traditional options (residential care homes, sheltered housing, retirement dwellings) offer a narrow range of choice for older people who are seeking a combination of accessible housing, security, control over their environment, choice of companions and a supportive community. These are all features of the CoHousing Communities developed in The Netherlands by older people anxious to stay 'in charge' of their lives in old age.CoHousing is an arrangement whereby a group of older people set up their own residential project and form a community in the process, promoting independent and collaborative living in separate, self-contained units. There is currently nothing like it in Britain, where many older people face a choice of staying in their own homes and becoming isolated or moving in to sheltered accommodation or residential care, where they may or may not find a sense of community.This research draws in a study of 15 groups of people aged 55 to 80+ years in The Netherlands who, anticipating the possibility of a life alone, or increased frailty, have taken steps to start or join a CoHousing Community. The report is based on interviews with Dutch older people and with organisations supporting the development of CoHousing Communities and it documents the processes involves and their policy context. The author explores what motivates older people to move house and join a 'living group', their experiences and their feelings about the choice they have made.The author argues that the CoHousing Community would represent a 'groundbreaking' advance in British housing policies for older people. The report concludes by exploring what older people in Britain could develop for themselves and what opportunities exist for imaginative local authorities, housing association and other housing providers to assist in such developments. It also addresses the practical issues involves in the context of British housing law and practice.'We're in charge' offers an important contribution to the literature on living environments in later life and contains important information for older people thinking about imaginative future options. It will be a valuable resource for local authorities, housing associations, community care agencies, community groups and older people's groups, policy makers, planners and academics.
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Maria Brenton, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol
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Book Description The Policy Press, 1998. Paperback. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG1861341334