THE NEW ERA OF HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY? LIFESTYLE, FREEDOM AND COMMUNITY; A social anthropological study about how living in a co-housing building can affect the elderly’s quality of life and freedom.
This thesis explores the elderly’s choice to change their housing situation and their option to move to a co-housing building. Cohousing is a type of housing arrangement that promotes social contact and community between the neighbors. This is done through mutual common areas in the building and planned activities that bring the residents together. The thesis addresses how the existence of these spaces and group activities affect the elderly sense of community and quality of life. Beside the term quality of life, the thesis also uses David Claphams concept housing pathway to explain why the elderly choose to move in the first place as well as Lowell Don Holm and Donald O Cowgill's theory on loneliness and aging. This study takes place in the south of Sweden and the informants are in the age group 55+. I uses qualitative methods - participant observation and semi structured in-depth interviews - to gather both the experiences as they ares described by the elderly and also the observations of the everyday life which strengthen and complement what the subjects already describe in words. In the study one can see that the elderly’s choices to move to a co-housing space give them more freedom and socialization, and with that a better quality of life.