Close but Independent: Elder Cottages Offer Novel Older Adult Living Arrangement

A new housing alternative is hitting the scene for older adults looking to retire. Elder cottages are a new living arrangement where the individual and a host live on the same property. The cottages are small, separated residences for older adults that can temporarily be placed in the yards of a host family, which tend to be relatives or close friends. 

This residence option—known as ECHO cottages—is an initiative started by the Department of Aging when it launched its Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) program. Created as an alternative to nursing homes, the program meets a dual goal: finding solutions for growing concerns around long-term placement for older adults, while also maintaining the independence of older adults. In terms of affordability, most of the cottage users are of lower income, and they pay no more than 30% of their monthly incomes to reside in the cottage. 

This new residence alternative fits in nicely with the latest trend of unique living arrangements for older adults, like intergenerational living, college living, or using an app to rent a roommate! These methods are adding to the available options older adults may have should they desire to retire in an unconventional way. 


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NCPA Staff. 2023. ‘Elder cottages’ offer housing alternative for older adults. NorthcentralPA.  

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