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The options for senior living when people reach retirement age are overwhelming. From retirement communities to cabins to even houseboats. Retirement living has completely changed over the past twenty years.

Downsizing during retirement is nothing new. It just makes sense to choose a smaller place to live if it's just yourself or with a significant other. With so many choices now available, seniors have a lot to think about when it comes to living out their golden years.

One of the choices includes living in a cottage. Cottages provide all the amenities of home living, just in a smaller space.

Benefits of Cottage Living

These days cottage living for seniors does not mean just living in a small house by yourself. There are many cottage communities that are full of activities and amenities. Although the cottages stand alone, residents can enjoy things like shared tennis courts and swimming pools.

Living in a cottage community also provides residents with an opportunity to meet other retirees and make new friendships. This helps to foster feelings of friendship which can ward off the depression that some seniors face during their retirement. Many enjoy this type of living because it may remind them of the communities they lived in years ago when they grew up. For many this is a comforting factor as they get older.

The idea of cottage community living is also appealing to seniors because of the safety factor. Due to the fact that these are such close knit communities, neighbors watch out for one another. Crime is generally low which is appealing to people at any age.

Drawbacks of Cottage Living

While there are many benefits of cottage living for seniors, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

Since cottage living for seniors is similar to living in a regular home, seniors need to be active and fairly independent to take on cottage living. If you or a loved one needs nursing care or help with daily tasks, this type of senior living may not be the right choice.

In some parts of the country, there are cottage-type senior living communities that may offer limited nursing care. This may be more beneficial for those seniors who need a little help every now and again.

If you don’t particularly enjoy close living quarters, then cottage living may not be for you either. Communities are close-knit which can be attractive to some while deterring others. It all comes down to the type of living style you like.

Cost of Cottage Living

As with anything, the cost all depends on how extravagant you want your living quarters to be. If the idea is to downsize, then a $300,000 cottage is probably out of the question. You can also get a cottage in the $100,000 range which would make your monthly payments drastically less. If you were selling a larger home and purchasing a cottage in the $100,000 range, you may not have a mortgage payment at all, just utilities and other expenses. In those situations, cottage living can be beneficial if you are truly looking to save money and downsize.

Elder Cottages

Besides your basic cottage living community, “elder cottages” are also gaining in popularity. These are small cottages that can be put in the backyards of larger homes of other family members. These cottages are self-contained and energy efficient. They provide seniors with their independence while having the comfort of having someone nearby if the need arises. They can also be customized to suit elevated toilets and wheelchair access. Elder cottages can range anywhere between 500 square feet to nearly 1,000 square feet. They are fairly inexpensive ranging from $30,000 to around $50,000. For seniors who want to be near family but are looking to downsize and still maintain their independence, elder cottages can be a great choice.

Things to Ask When Considering Senior Cottages

Before you start looking for cottages, there are some things you’ll want to consider.

  • Am I truly downsizing? As was stated above, some cottages are just as expensive, if not more expensive than regular homes. If your goal is to downsize, be sure you are choosing a cottage that suits that goal.
  • Do I like living nearby people? If you like your privacy and don’t like having that cozy neighborhood atmosphere, then cottage living may not be for you.
  • Am I independent enough for cottage living? Cottage living requires a certain level of activity and independence. If you need medical attention or can’t perform daily tasks alone, you may want to rethink cottage living.
  • What are the average utility expenses? If you are considering cottage living, talk to others who are currently in that situation. Inquire about typical monthly expenses to see if it is something you can afford.

Making a change in your living situation is a big decision and one that should not be made lightly. Be sure to consider all options before deciding whether cottage living is right for you.

Reviewed By

Scott Witt

Elder Home Care Expert

Scott founded Select Home Care Portland in 2009 and has been helping seniors live their best life at home or in their local senior community ever since. As an advocate for seniors, the primary philosophy has been to listen, educate and provide… Learn More About Scott Witt

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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