Thinking about senior cooperative housing for retirement? 

Senior cooperative housing is one of the many styles of retirement communities to consider. While it can be a great option for some, it has some key differences from places like Sunflower Communities which offers more of a community-style senior and assisted living.

Finding a quality home that fits your needs is one of the most important factors of retirement and aging. While this can be a fairly daunting decision, it’s easier when you break it down and first pick the general style of senior housing you are looking for.

Aside from community style and cooperative senior housing, there are, senior apartment complexes, condominiums, and senior cooperative housing options. Senior cooperatives are one form of “homeownership” that allows residents to have stock in where they live but not own the property outright. This means that residents living in a co-op own a share in the community and can still decide their living situations together as a cooperative. Apartment complexes and condominiums are more along the lines of a standard apartment or condo with some added amenities for seniors. 

Now that you have a general idea of the options out there, let’s break down what you need to know about senior cooperative housing!

row of new houses in retirement community; senior cooperative housing

How Senior Cooperative Housing Works

Cooperatives work much differently than any other type of senior living or retirement communities, and here’s why. Essentially, the co-op housing is a corporation that residents purchase stock in, making them shareholders. So all the residents collectively “own” the land and building as a group. It’s similar to owning a condo and being a part of an association, but the payments and ownership run a little differently.

The housing’s initial cost will be a down payment, which is your one-time share cost determined by your apartment/home’s size: this is often 20-40% of the unit price. Then, after the down payment, there will be monthly fees and your master-mortgage payments. These monthly fees may cover your mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, maintenance, taxes, cable & internet, and more building expenses to care for the property.

The most significant difference between a co-op and a condominium association is that your unit likely won’t appreciate in value. If you end up selling, you will probably get your share cost back, plus any equity you put in to increase the property’s value (but it won’t be much). So people don’t usually consider this a large investment, but it is an affordable senior living option for those seniors wanting to avoid paying high rent costs with no return for the time being.

How Senior Cooperative Housing Differs from Sunflower Communities 

Senior cooperative housing is a great option for seniors 55+ who still want to be invested in their home, but without big upkeep of owning a house or large property. It allows them to live a maintenance-free life without giving up their desire to invest and making the transition from full-time homeownership a little easier. 

However, places like Sunflower Communities offer similar benefits as far as amenities go but without that added element of ownership. And we believe that at a senior living community such as ours, we actually help alleviate any added stresses of homeownership by allowing residents to simply pay rent and fees as their contract allows. They can leave at any time and not have to worry about a thing

Sunflower Communities also offers the ability to age-in-place. As people age, medical needs tend to increase. We offer memory care services, additional care packages, and care suites to help meet these needs as they arise without you having to move to a new community.

two senior men doing squats in gym

Shared Amenities

Community living and senior housing cooperatives offer amenities that are a major selling point to many of these organizations. As people age, it can be more difficult to get out and do the same activities they once did, whether they don’t want to drive or they want to save money. Having every possible amenity available to them in one place makes it even easier to do fun activities whenever they feel like it. Many community amenities include:

  • Community kitchen
  • Fitness center
  • Salon
  • Community room
  • Movie theatre
  • Game room
  • Community garden
  • Laundry facilities
  • Guest rooms for family
  • Library
  • etc.

On-Site Services

The inconveniences of having to drive out to doctor appointments and getting the proper physical and mental therapy can be a pain for those 55+ individuals. So many of these communities make their lives easier. by providing on-site services such as:

  • Physical therapy for injuries and arthritis
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Pharmacy services – prescriptions sent right to their home
  • Care coordination
  • Transportation services
  • Grocery delivery
  • Dry-cleaning pick-up and drop-off
  • Etc.

One additional on-site service you won’t find in a Senior Co-Op, but will find at Sunflower Communities and other places like it is primary physician care. Primary Physician Care and Mental Health Services are especially nice to have access to without having to leave your communities. This is still uncommon to have available at senior co-operatives, however, are offered in community-living style assisted living and memory care communities.


Cropped shot of a cheerful elderly woman hugging her husband who's in a wheelchair at home during the day; senior cooperative housing

Improved Quality of Life

Aside from the basic amenities that help make their daily lives more comfortable and more convenient, those living in community-style living reap many other benefits that add to their quality of life.

  • Maintaining their independence
  • Taking care of a low-maintenance home
  • Feeling safe and secure in their community
  • Unlimited access to fun activities and social events
  • Meeting new people and making friends or finding life partners
  • Better physical and mental health
  • An overall increase in life satisfaction

Finding Your Perfect Living Arrangement

For those 55+ individuals looking to hang on to their homeownership, independent living, and usual lifestyle, but with the added benefits of community living, senior cooperative housing can be the perfect situation. Sunflower Communities provides these same added benefits, but without the ownership aspect, which can work well for many 65+ seniors looking for a no-maintenance living. For more information, reach out to us today!