Senior Home Care Cooperative


(Last updated 31 May 2011) The Senior Home Care Cooperative (SHCC) is a concept which was developed as an alternative to a nursing home. It is based on the idea that six families, each with an older adult needing 24-hour care, would form a cooperative housing corporation and purchase an apartment building. The families would manage the building and the six elderly family members would live in the building, sharing two apartments and receiving care.


In the Cooperative, family members would help paid caregivers provide 24-hour care for the group of residents. Each family would be responsible for providing 16 hours of care per week and the remaining hours would be covered by the paid caregivers, hired jointly by the families. The care would be basic supportive care at the level each resident requires. The care would be creative and holistic and would take place in an environment where both the process of aging and the work of the paid caregivers was valued and supported.


We envision the Cooperative as a relaxed and warm home filled with the life, energy, and love of the family members and paid caregivers who spend time there, and of the older adults who live there. The residents would be able to participate in the ordinary activities of daily life and follow their usual routines, surrounded by family and friends. With the help of their families, the older adults ould be able to retain control over their lives and maintain their identity.

Why a Cooperative?

Legal and Regulatory Status

In 2000, a request was made to the Illinois Department of Public Health asking for a ruling in advance as to whether or not the Senior Home Care Cooperative would require a nursing home license. In their response the IDPH stated, "It is our opinion that the cooperative described in your letter would not require licensure under the Nursing Home Care Act".

The Senior Home Care Alternative

The idea for the Senior Home Care Cooperative was developed by the Senior Home Care Alternative (SHCA) -- a non-profit, tax-exempt [501 (c) incorporated in 1996. The purpose of the organization was to develop an alternative to institutional care. The SHCA was founded by two nurses, Mary Signatur and Claudia George, both of whom had extensive professional experience working with older adults in both institutional and community-based settings as well as personal experience with caregiving for elderly relatives. Although a number of grant proposals were submitted requesting funding for one full-time position to support the work involved in the development of a pilot Senior Home Care Cooperative in Chicago, funding was not secured. The organization became inactive in 2002 and was dissolved in 2011.

More Information:
The Need for a Cooperative
Description of the Cooperative
Accomplished in 1997
Accomplished in 1998
Accomplished in 1999
Accomplished in 2000

For more information please contact:
shca at (email) or
Claudia George at (773) 248-2072.

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