Aging successfully: The power of community

Submitted by digital on Mon, 03/28/2016 - 14:25
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["a",["href","https:\/\/\/our-work\/initiatives\/connections-and-engagement","target","_new"]],["em"],["strong"],["a",["href","http:\/\/\/Senior-Cohousing-Community-Approach-Independent\/dp\/0945929307","target","_new"]],["sup"],["a",["href","http:\/\/\/","target","_new"]]],"sections":[[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"This is a blueprint for a new\nway of living for older\nAmericans. It at once addresses the need\nfor privacy and for community; provides a net of security and mutual care\nwithout the institutional restrictions of assisted living; and is\nenvironmentally friendly. Most importantly, it\u2019s planned, designed, and built\nby the residents themselves."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,""],[0,[],0,"They Way We Live"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Today we can text our sibling to\nfind out what they are having for lunch in Paris, but we don\u2019t know the name of our next-door neighbor."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Meanwhile, increased need for\npolice surveillance, for the emergency room, for assisted care, after-school\ntutoring, out-of-neighborhood childcare, psychological therapy, and so many\nother institutionalized care activities are taxing seniors \u2013 and\nthe general citizenry everywhere \u2013 to pay for these services. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"If you think about it, most of\nthese services could be supplied through a strong community network, or the\npresence of community can render them less necessary \u2013 and\npossibly not necessary at all."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"There are so many pathologies\nlike that in our society \u2013 social services and institutions designed to meet\nneeds that wouldn\u2019t be as pressing if each individual was a part of a\nwell-functioning community. And there have been so many attempts to remedy\nthese pathologies through specialized graduate degree programs, vast amounts of\nresearch, police and fire departments, social workers, and every possible\nmethod other than through personal, one-on-one engagement."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The\n"],[0,[0],1,"2012 Vancouver Foundation Survey "],[0,[],0,"showed that\nVancouver, British Columbia, is one\nof the most estranged towns in the world, where only 40% of the people have conversations with a neighbor once a week or more. The biggest obstacle to getting\nto know neighbors is that the respondents simply never see their neighbors. Only\n52% of the population feels that most people in their neighborhood trust each\nother."]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[1],1,"How much difference can it\nmake to an elder\u2019s ability to age in place? All the difference in\nthe world. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"All of us are responsible for\nthe shortcomings in planning our world. We will all shoulder the burden of what\u2019s been called \u201cThe 3 Trillion Dollar Dilemma\u201d: 20\nyears from now, if we try to \u201ctake care of seniors\u201d in\nthe same way we do today, it will cost $3 trillion more "],[0,[2],1,"per year"],[0,[],0,"."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I know of no one embracing that\nresponsibility better than people planning new cohousing communities for\nthemselves. They bring environmental ethics, justice, diversity of interests,\nand good village life to the table. They also bring community, and real work,\nby real people with real values, who make an environment that responds to their\nreal needs."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Millions of baby boomers\nare trying to get comfortable with the idea of spending their retirement years\nin traditional assisted or independent living facilities for the aged, but they\ncan\u2019t. And who can blame them? Dramatic demographic,\neconomic and technological changes in our society have created a population\nthat lives longer and ages healthier. They are looking for an alternative to\ncurrent housing options as they age. Traditional forms of housing no longer\naddress the needs of many older Americans."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"The Value in Cohousing"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The cohousing model of\ncooperative home design provides an alternative based upon an integrated,\nsupportive community. Senior cohousing offers new architectural and social\nmodels of housing designed for older Americans seeking a balance of\nindependence and sociability, community and privacy."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Most housing options for\nseniors tend to create isolation and discourage interaction. When I was a\nteenager I used to deliver firewood to elderly residents in the California\nmountains. Sometimes I\u2019d go to houses in winter where the elderly\nresident hadn\u2019t had a live conversation with another person in\na month. This belies the myth of \u201caging in place.\u201dIt can be delusional and harmful for both the\nsenior and their adult children to allow this scenario to occur."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"On the other hand, the cohousing\nmodel is both an alternative to \u201caging in place\u201d in the familiar but isolated homestead, and an\nalternative to institutionalized senior housing. The cohousing alternative\ninvites seniors to own their own home in a community they helped to design,\nrather than one designed by a developer who will never live there. This\nalternative is comprehensively outlined in \u201c"],[0,[3],1,"Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent\nLiving"],[0,[],0,",\u201d 2"],[0,[4],1,"nd "],[0,[],0,"edition, by Charles Durrett. It can include\noptions for joint caretakers to live or stay in the community, decreasing the\ncost of care per person. It can encompass amenities that help to promote health\nand wellness, such as yoga classes in the common house. It must include\nelements to promote sociability and community and shared resources, such as\nshared meals and shared responsibility for cooking them."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Starting with 25 to 30 seniors,\nwe co-design a new senior village with the future residents themselves. This\nparticipatory process helps ensure that the residents\u2019 goals for an environment that\nmeets their needs for aging successfully are truly fulfilled. The participatory\nprocess begins on the first day that future residents gather to start designing\na place where people grow to know, care about and support each other as they\ngrow older."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Together they create communities\nthat make life more convenient, more affordable, healthier and more fun, and\nclear the way toward fulfilling the goal of living lighter on the planet."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"How much difference can it\nmake to an elder\u2019s ability to age in place? All the difference in\nthe world. My mother thought she had her finances arranged. Then she went into\nassisted living, and 10 years later the nest egg was gone. The residents of\nmost of the senior cohousing projects I\u2019m familiar with are living\nwith support, caring neighbors, joy, energy and community for about half the\ncost of assisted living. You can pay a lot of money for a good assisted living\nfacility, and still be lonely in your suite of rooms."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"How romantic is community? Very; everyone\nis talking about it in the abstract."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"How realistic is community?\nVery; there are lots of folks around North America who\nhave decided that this traditional value \u2014 community \u2014 is an important complement in our lives, and\nneeds to be revived."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],1,"About the Author"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],0,"Chuck Durrett is\nan award-winning architect who pioneered the cohousing movement in the U.S.\nwith his partner and wife, Kathryn McCamant. "],[0,[5],1,"McCamant \u0026 Durrett Architects"],[0,[],1,"\nhas designed more than 50 cohousing communities in the United States and\nCanada. Durrett lives in the 34-unit Nevada City Cohousing community with 20\nseniors."]]]]}
Here’s a housing solution for aging Americans that addresses the need for privacy and for community, provides a net of security and mutual care, and is environmentally friendly.
Members Only
Use on Homepage
Temp Draft