Co-housing Women’s Group


The recent crises in long term care as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic have emphasized the need for coming up with new models for aging demographics. It remains a well-documented fact that women generally have fewer access to resources than men when it comes to this stage of their lives. The group is intended to comprise those who wish to delve further into the possibilities for self-governing models of group living that combine independent spaces with communal ones (co-housing, coop housing etc.).

Speaking out of this demographic, one becomes aware of, as well as being impatient with, the ways in which elderly women are stereotypically perceived as invariably vulnerable and in need of protection. Baba Yaga refers to a witch of Balkan folklore whose mobile house famously sits on chicken legs and who is a direct contrast to such characteristics—perhaps too much so since she is also a reminder that such stereotypes also attached to old women living alone in the past and made them targets and scapegoats whenever things went awry. On the other hand they were also sought out for herbal remedies, midwifery, and other health emergencies. As members of our College know well, we all have a great deal of experience on which innovative ideas could be built. We are, after all, the baby boomers whose ideas and innovations, for better or worse, structure much of our contemporary daily lives. In the cultural field some inspirations range from artists such as Louise Bourgeois to writers and artists such as Leonora Carrington whose recently reissued novel The Hearing Trumpet is a bracingly satiric account about how a bunch of elderly women thwarted attempts to rein in their freedom.


Emeritus College members and spouses are invited to join the group to engage in discussions and presentations on cohousing models. It is anticipated that pooling our knowledge will provide a range of realistic models for the future and may even have direct practical outcomes. The call to participate has been initially directed at women only we will decide at the first meeting whether to stay with this model.

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The Baba Yaga model set up in France has inspired people across the world. Much has already been written about this experiment and a similar network has already been set up in Toronto.

Indeed there are experiments along those lines across the world. In Vancouver there are, for example: Quayside Living and Driftwood Village, as well as PAL Vancouver (for senior performing artists).

We would hope to invite those involved in these models as well as UBC initiatives such as the Housing Research Collaborative .

We will share experts and expertise (including inspiring writers, artists and film directors) that exist in the field to see what is possible.

Emeritus College members interested in joining the Co-housing Women's Group mailing list are asked to email the group convenor, Sneja Gunew at


The inaugural meeting for the Women's Cohousing Group has been scheduled for October 13, 2022 with invited speaker Penny Gurstein, Director of the UBC Housing Research Collaborative and UBC Emerita, who will present on innovative housing models for care and support. 

You can find all upcoming meetings by clicking on the link and search for the category "co-housing women's group".