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Is It Time To Revisit the Idea of Commune Living?

Is It Time To Revisit the Idea of Commune Living?

By Susan Williams

I can’t help but wonder if living in a commune as we age isn’t such a bad idea.

Now before you say “didn’t we try this once before?” – here’s the reason why I’m even suggesting we revisit it again.

I was reading some recent research conducted by Ohio State University that discovered that social ties could possibly preserve memory and slow brain aging.

Now this particular finding by itself isn’t that new. There have been many studies that support the need for social interactivity to maintain healthy brain functions. But what I thought was really interesting was this component of the study;

“…The Ohio State University found that mice housed in groups had better memories and healthier brains than animals that lived in pairs.”

In this study, they actually housed older mice in both a mix of couples (as they termed an “old-couple model”) and then other mice in groups of six. What they discovered at the end of the study was; “The group-housed mice had fewer signs of this inflammation, meaning that their brains didn’t look as ‘old’ as those that lived in pairs…”.

This is when I thought of communes.

The thing is though, when I think about a commune the first thing that pops in my mind is “free love”, hippies and tie dye. But as I looked into this concept further, there were actually some positive living arrangements this lifestyle was looking to embrace.

The definition of a commune is;

  • a small group of persons living together, sharing possessions, work, income, etc., and often pursuing unconventional lifestyles.
  • a close-knit community of people who share common interests.

Without us getting into the “unconventional lifestyle” discussion, I could see how living with a strong social network of people who share, watch out and support each other couldn’t help but be good for aging.

Not being lonely, having a sense of purpose, keeping physically active and a healthy diet are all are key conditions for positive aging. So living in a group setting that supports this could be extremely valuable.

So whether we call it a commune, co-op or  a shared living arrangement, I think the value for positive aging is in the creation of a close-knit community where people share and care for each other.

Actually, isn’t this what we all need?

Here’s an example of an older communal living arrangement in Spain;

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.