Rebirth of Intentional Communities or Communal Living
The idea of communal living grew during the sixties and seventies. They started to decline in the eighties according to Laird Schaub, the executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community. As baby boomers research where and how to live as they reach retirement age, many are returning to the concept of communal living. The commune may be the new retirement community.
The growth of communes from 1965 to 1975 was usually based on a shared vision by its members. Communes were often established out of a broader idealism of creating a better world. There were also communes that were artistic collectives, religious and self-help communities. According to Schaub, there are approximately 4000 intentional communities with a population of 100,000 members.
While communal living may not replace the traditional sun city model of retirement community, there are growing in popularity. No longer only populated by people in their young twenties, many retirees are exploring intentional communities.
Why do retirees consider communal living?
Cost is a factor. The communal experience usually costs much less than living in a single family home. Baby boomers saw their home equity and retirement savings decrease in the recent recession. Living on a commune provides a way of retiring with less income.
Community is built in. Isolation is one of the most difficult adjustments new retirees face. Living in a commune provides a built in community.
Pooled resources. Intentional communities offer the opportunity for people to combine “money, creativity, skills, assets, ideas and resources.” The whole is bigger than the sum of it’s parts.
Of course, intentional communities are not for everyone. It is important to find a situation that meets your needs and values. For people who are open to the possibility, communal living provides an option to the tradition retirement community.