Coliving: Here’s to shared spaces and your health

January 25, 2023

Did you know that co-living can actually be good for your health? Here’s a surprising fact: prolonged loneliness creates the same health risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Read on to find out more about how loneliness negatively impacts our health – and how co-living can be the lifeline that reconnects us to others. 

Living alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

According to data collected by various organizations, people who are socially isolated and lonely often get insufficient exercise and suffer from poor sleep – all of which can “increase the risk of stroke (by 32%), heart disease (by 29%), mental health disorders (by 26%) and premature mortality (by 26%), as well as other serious conditions.”

Social isolation and loneliness may also be bad for brain health and have been linked to poorer cognitive function and higher risk for dementia (by 50%), including and especially Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike mental health disorders such as depression, social isolation and loneliness often aren’t diagnosed yet they still can promote negative cognitive and physical health effects. 

Co-living offers more than just affordable rooms

If all that wasn’t enough reason to live with roommates, too much alone time can also contribute to a lagging ability to perform everyday tasks. The University of California San Francisco found that 59% of people suffering from loneliness were “more likely to find daily tasks such as climbing stairs or walking more difficult.” 

And when we add in today’s tendency to engage with tech devices more than with other humans (no more chatting at the bus stop anymore when you’ve got a cell phone in your hand), that sense of loneliness becomes even harder to avoid. 

While most people immediately understand that a shared living space is a smart solution for affordable housing, not everyone knows it also can contribute to long-term health. The fact that co-living can alleviate isolated feelings and has proven benefits for improving social and mental well-being by creating a sense of community means that this growing trend offers more than meets the eye.

Quality of life positively impacted by co-living

Sharing living spaces with others offers a two-fold solution for better well-being: first, it can reduce living costs and provide accessible, cheap housing in big cities that otherwise are too expensive; second, it can create a social living arrangement with people who are also looking to move forward in their lives. In particular, young adults, women, those with lower levels of education or income, those who are not economically active, those who live alone, and those who live in urban areas are all groups recognized to be more vulnerable to loneliness in periods of social restrictions. 

An inexpensive housing alternative for the future

Co-living is gaining more traction as housing becomes more unaffordable, especially in larger cities around the world. Both historical and current examples of shared-housing communities underscore the social and economic benefits of shared living as it addresses mental health issues and alleviates financial burdens that will confront us and our younger generation in the coming years.

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