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Co-Housing Is The Latest Take On Eco-Friendly Community Living

By Nicole Caldwell

Co-housing is an attractive (and green) alternative to the potential isolation and wastefulness of separate dwellings. While not necessarily the most traditional approach to housing, co-housing absolutely has a lot to offer, whether you're looking for housing solo, with a partner, or even with your whole family. From pooling resources and sharing responsibilities to lowered costs of living and greener amenities, co-housing may have the ability to cure many of the world’s ills while also addressing public health issues and lowering carbon footprints. Here's how it tends to work.

Our sense of isolation is a problem, and co-housing may be the solution.

A new study by Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, and colleagues suggests social isolation and loneliness among Americans may be even greater threats to public health than obesity. The number of Americans experiencing a sense of social isolation has doubled since the 1980s, from 20 to 40 percent.

Holt-Lunstad presented her findings at this year’s annual American Psychological Association convention. Meanwhile, a study by AARP estimates that around 42.6 million adults older than 45 in the United States suffer chronic loneliness. Of those lonely hearts, a disproportionately high percentage also experience anxiety, depression, elevated stress-hormone levels, earlier cognitive decline, and a variety of mood disorders. 

There is even a study showing isolation can raise your risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent; and another suggesting middle-aged people suffering isolation have a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years.