The Modern Golden Girls.
Ever since I wrote this post last month, “Older Single Women of the World, Unite,” (meawisdom.com/wisdom-well/post/older-single-women-of-the-world-unite) I’ve been in a series of separate email conversations with more than a dozen single female MEA alums who are curious about their definition of family as they age.
So, I appreciated that I was introduced to this Guardian article entitled “We have brothers, sons, lovers – but they can’t live here!’ The happy home shared by 26 women.”
I’ll give you the quick summary for those who don’t have time to read the article:
- With 26 residents aged 58 to 94, New Ground is the UK’s first cohousing community exclusively for older women, sort of a feminist utopia. Ironically, it was a former girls’ school bordered by a convent.
- Homes overlook a garden blooming with wildflowers, berries, and an orchard. The common meeting room is used for weekly dinners and yoga classes.
- In 2021, 3.64 million people over 65 lived alone in the UK, 70% of whom were women. A growing number of organizations are dedicated to creating cohousing opportunities for older women.
- This communal living is a great way to reduce the societal costs of caregiving. These women have set up a “health buddy” system where each person has a circle of two or three buddies who will check in on her regularly, offering extra help such as shopping or cooking if she has had a knee replacement or wasn’t feeling great. This was quite a relief during the pandemic as there was no loneliness at New Ground.
- With so many people living communally, there’s less need for everyone to have a car, so they can share a few urban cars, which reduces everyone’s monthly expenses.
As we start to conceptualize more MEA regenerative communities—both in Baja and Santa Fe—based upon the remarkable model my co-founder Jeff Hamaoui created (co-created by MEA alum Peter Arbuckle) with the 26-home Baja Sage, built around a regenerative farm near the MEA campus, you’ll be hearing more about cohousing as a possibility for those who want to join a community like this.