Senior Co-Housing

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

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About hereisakiss

Daughter Writer Art's Educator
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5 Responses to Senior Co-Housing

  1. Raines Cohen says:

    Thanks for writing about senior cohousing, Elizabeth, and for linking to my site. I wrote about Aging in Community models including cohousing in the book Audacious Aging, and I’ve visited the few established senior cohousing neighborhoods in the U.S., as well as over 100 of the intergenerational ones, and I’ve lived in two over the past decade, including with 70- and 80-year old neighbors, and even a younger one who passed away at home after a long illness, so I’ve had some exposure to the issues and challenges and opportunities it presents.

    Are you looking in any particular area for a beach hotel? I highly recommend working with real-estate and community-building professionals in your area, as I know some folks who keep on talking about retiring together and don’t take action — at one community, they talked for 30 years and the youngest one was 75 when they moved in, and a couple passed away within the first year.

    Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach and Audacious Aging contributor

    P.S. If you’re going to blog with a book excerpt, be sure to link to the book so people know where to get it!

    • hereisakiss says:

      Hello…Thanks for writing. I love the title of your book “Audacious Aging” and just put it in my ‘wish list’ on Amazon. I like the fact it is an anthology of personal stories. From the book website at http://www.audaciousaging.com/, I took this:

      “The view of aging is undergoing a radical transformation in the Western world. With rising consciousness and extended life spans, after sixty is no longer the “go gently into the night” stage of life. With decades of quality life left to live, continued engagement is the order of the day. When the “tsunami” of the aging baby boomer population hits, the redefinition of aging that is already under way will be swept forward in that giant wave. Aging will never be the same again.”

      Elizabeth

  2. Kathy Estadt says:

    My friend Judy told me about your blog because she says you are like sisters separated at birth. After reading the first 5 entries I feel the same way. Plus I’m in tears with laughter at the combination of love and silliness you write about. I’ve got a new perspective in day to day dealings with my own 83 year old mother. You’re a good daughter. Something we all aspire to. Keep up the good work.

  3. dale says:

    i so want to be adopted into this daughters group! i could provide the crafts although you probably have that class covered also E…

    As I told you about my male buddies “designing” our ideal co-housing idea back in the late 80’s… a mountaintop retreat/circular building/everyone had a view/rocking chairs on our decks overlooking the valley/cute male & female nurses in the center (with bar of course)… i wonder how many of us “young” folk have dreamt of creative co-housing in jest derived from a serious dislike of nursing homes.

    I want to change the mountain top idea to a beach hotel. Please let me know if there are any (immediate ok) vacansies available.

  4. Cohousing came to the U.S. 15 years ago from Denmark, where intergenerational communities gave birth to a successful, age-specific cohousing model for active elders. The first elder-only cohousing neighborhoods for active adults, 55 and above, are just now emerging in the U.S. Design features include easy access for all levels of physical ability and also may include optional studio residences in the common house to provide living quarters for home health aides whose services may be shared by several residents. thanks for nice post!

    American Senior Communities

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