Thematic Panel 8: Imagining an Alternative Future: Collaborative Housing as an Option for Aging and Caring

María Offenhenden, Rovira i Virgili University
Nina Navajas-Pertegás, University of Valencia

Against the backdrop of the progressive aging of society, changing family patterns and gender roles, and the resulting care deficit, a plethora of community-centered housing alternatives are emerging as an option for a new generation of seniors that express different ideas and demands on how to age. They reject passivity and solitude associated to institutional and home-care settings, and pursue aging in a community model based on active participation and citizenship.
The values of solidarity and mutual aid are usually at the core of these initiatives, providing new elements for the social organization of care, currently marked by deep social and gender inequalities in the provision and access to care. The importance given to personal autonomy, participatory management, and/or collective decision-making about the organization and use of time and space in everyday life are all elements that enable the configuration of alternative settings for aging and caring. These factors challenge the domestic/institutional and private/public divide in care arrangements and result in new ways of interaction amongst the family, the state, the market, and civil society in care provision for the elderly, broadening the possibilities of aging and caring in alternative ways.
The aim of the panel is to extend social research debates about community care, focusing on the needs and desires of older people and how do they appropriate, perceive and shape care. In order to move in this direction, we welcome theoretical and empirical papers addressing the experiences of seniors forming and/or living in the myriad of community-centered housing projects (communal housing, co-housing, collaborative housing, collective housing, etc.), taking into account its multiple modalities (self-managed, co-managed with private or public partners, etc.; senior, multigenerational or intergenerational), in different national contexts and diverse care provision systems. We intend to discuss the potentialities, tensions and contradictions involved in these alternative housing models for older people in regards to universalizing access to care, the redistribution of resources and the curbing of social and gender inequalities, highlighting the dis/continuities with the aging-in-place and institutional care models. We will also consider papers analyzing the impact of the Covid-19 sanitary crisis in these ventures.

Posted in Conference 2021, Thematic Panels.