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Co-Living on the Rise for Older Americans

While an increasing number of aging Americans are choosing to remain independent, a recent study from AARP shows that more adults age 50 and older are sharing their homes with others as they age, up from 2 percent in 2014 to 16 percent in 2018. According to AARP's 2018 Home and Community Preferences survey, the majority of those who prefer to live alone as they age say they would consider sharing their home if they needed help with everyday activities, companionship or extra income.

These older adults are showing strong interest in a variety of co-living options that preserve their independence while providing access to community. These options include joining a "village," or living in or building an “accessory dwelling unit,” such as a mother-in-law apartment, or the trendier “granny pod,” small, free-standing structures on the property of a family’s existing home.

"As people live longer and family dynamics change, people of all ages are more open to new living and transportation options," said Danielle Arigoni, director of Livable Communities, AARP. "Some of these creative options are old concepts applied to new issues, such as re-envisioning 'in-law' suites for caregivers, while others use new technology to solve old problems, such as ridesharing services filling in transportation gaps."

Survey respondents also ranked the top features they wanted in their communities. Although preferences vary slightly based on age, the top community features among all ages are:

- Well-maintained streets (88 percent)
- Healthcare facilities (87 percent)
- Safe parks (83 percent)

Other community features that are very important to people of all ages include affordable housing and safe, timely public transportation.