As a daughter, that is a ‘Daughter of Diminished Capacity’, I wanted to write this week about senior co-housing (a segue from the last blog on assisted living). But wait, what is a DDC? Glad you asked.
We are a group of long-time friends (I met Pat in 3rd grade) who enjoy each other’s company, who try to vacation once a year together, who celebrate and grieve each other’s lives/relationships and who have vowed (or maybe it was the wine talking) to be there for each other as we age (think Ya Ya’s).
We are currently ‘in the market’ for a beach hotel (somewhere tropical), with individual bathrooms, a community dining/sitting area, space for a garden and a balcony from which to watch the sunset…cocktails in hand. We’ll probably also need a fence by the shoreline just in case anyone gets it into their head to go midnight skinny dipping. We’re presently interviewing for cabana boys.
Seriously though, like most folks our age we say we don’t want our kids to have to care for us (even if they wanted to) and would rather be shot than live in a nursing home…even a nice one. We’d like to remain independent as long as possible and we each have something to offer this type of community living (I’m down for entertainment) which is similar to a commune…an elder commune (only the drugs won’t be as fun – Boniva, Lipitor, shots of B12).
There is actually a term for this type of lifestyle – senior (or elder) co-housing – and it comes in all flavors, shapes and sizes. If you Google it, you might be impressed at what is happening nationally and otherwise. Try www.cohousing.org or www.agingincommunity.com to get started.
Also, from a 2009 USA Today article – “Graceful aging belongs to people who say to themselves: ‘I’m going to age, I’m not going to stay the way I am now and I’m prepared for it. We keep each other out of the old-age nursing home as long as is humanly possible.” – http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2009-05-03-co-housing_N.htm
There are conferences, blogs and even ‘defining characteristics’. Locations vary, as does cost (sometimes significantly). The bottom line is a person’s desire to age within a community of like-minded people…whether it’s the girl who sat in front of you in 3rd grade or a former co-worker or maybe someone you’ve not yet met.
Senior co-housing may be the answer for your Mom or Dad … who knows, maybe even for you!
Take good care of each other…Elizabeth