Downsizing — or rightsizing as I prefer to call it — is a hot topic. As more and more baby boomers age and become either unable or unwilling to look after a house, they are moving to condos or seniors’ complexes. As experts in helping people let go of excess stuff, professional organizers often help those moving from a big space to a smaller one, whether by choice or necessity.
As a result, I am fascinated by anything to do with this topic. If you read my column regularly you know I’m obsessed with the Tiny House Movement. If you watch the tiny house TV shows you mostly see younger people parking their tiny house on a piece of property or driving across the nation with their house in tow, exploring the country. However, there are tiny house communities where many tiny house people live together, sharing resources. In Canada I can only find them in B.C. but there are many across the United States.
There is another trend that a friend of mine found as a result of a CBC report which she kindly shared with me. She and I have been talking about what we want to do when we’re older and no longer want to take care of a house. We have this idea that a bunch of us girls will buy a property together where we’ll each have our own apartment and a communal living area. We’ll share the responsibility of taking care of the building and each other and hire people to help us with what we can’t manage. Well, apparently, we’re not the only ones.
In Paris, Therese Clerc dreamt up the idea of creating an alternate to long-term care homes. She calls her building Babayagas’ House. It is described as, “ … a self-managed social housing project devised and run by a community of dynamic female senior citizens who want to keep their independence but live communally.” Following her concept there is now a group in Toronto trying to establish Baba Yaga Place. And in Quebec, Janet Torge has founded Radical Resthomes, is a group dedicated to helping seniors find and develop their own alternative living arrangements.
The Radical Resthomes website best describes what this movement is all about. “Gather a couple of friends and look for your own place. Stay in your neighbourhood. Share the cooking, cleaning, shopping. Look after each other if someone’s sick. Have government resources come to you instead of the other way around. Maybe you rent, maybe you have bought a flat. Perhaps a large group has purchased an apartment building, where one apartment has been torn down to create communal space. Or you and some friends have bought land in the country and each is building a small house, with a large communal building for all. Whatever you decide to do, you declare your home, your compound, a ‘Radical Resthome.’ It’s your own personal senior residence, and you don’t need a developer or building manager to tell you how to run it …”
Could this idea of helping each other by sharing our living space, whether old or young, be a good one? To learn more try this website.