Andrew Moore and Margaret Critchlow are big fans of Harbourside Co-housing

Co-housing brings end to senior isolation

Harbourside Co-housing is the first senior co-housing community in B.C. and the second of its kind in Canada

What’s one of the worst fears many seniors face? Is it the threat of an irreparable injury, or the loss of one’s mind? Arguably, it’s neither of those things.

It’s social isolation.

Now there’s another path to independence and an end to loneliness: Harbourside Co-housing, a $12-million strata built for the senior community.

It’s the first senior co-housing community in B.C. and the second of its kind in Canada.

Spread across seven buildings are 31 dwellings, all looking south towards Sooke Harbour, Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.

The complex also includes a common house, where those in the local community can gather and share special events, cook and feast, and mingle. It even comes with its own games room, and multiple dwellings for visiting guests.

“The purpose is to avoid social isolation,” said Andrew Moore, one of the project’s founding members and president of the Canadian Seniors Co-housing Society, a Canada-wide group for that promotes seniors co-housing.

“So many elderly folk are staying in their homes and can’t get out to meet people. With this project, you still have a great degree of privacy, everyone has their own home, and can shut the door, but you also have the opportunity to be social,” Moore said.

He thinks of the project as a social thing, and a health thing. As a means of being around others when the light fades.

“As we need support, everyone agrees that they’ll support each other,” he said. “We have a lot of fun here. Instead of languishing at home, or at an institution, we actually flourish.”

No doubt, the whole strata is tightly knit. Connecting it all are paved roads, passageways, staircases and elevators, all providing instant access from one side to the next.

Each unit has an average size of 845 square feet, along with an eight-foot-wide deck. Ownership is simply strata title, and owners share more than 4,000 square feet of common amenity space. There is also a storage locker for each household.

Having just opened in January, all Harbourside units are sold out for a sticker price of $375,000 and has a waiting list of 237 people who are eager to move in when a unit becomes available.

Which is why now Moore and his colleague Margaret Critchlow, one of the seven founding member households who created Harbourside Co-housing, plan to build another one.

“We keep hearing that there’s more demand, so we want the people who are asking us to build another one to step up,” she said.