Elders wanting privacy
From: Hartzell Family (rhubarbmail.cvn.net)
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 15:19:35 -0500
Pennsylvania is one of two states in the US that does not tax retirement
income. Therefore PA has one of the largest "retired" populations in this
country. Since the county in which we are developing Hundredfold Farm is
within a reasonable drive of the Baltimore/D.C. megatropolis, our project
has attracted several almost-retired/semi-retired/retired households.
While all the participating families are attracted to the cohousing
concept because, "It just makes sense", several of the older people are
expressing reservations.  The basis of the concern is privacy.  The
statements made are something like, "You kids go ahead and cluster your
houses, but I've been on my own for so long I need my privacy. So, you
build your cluster and I'll build a house out in the back 40 so I can have
my privacy." While my quote here is a bit of an exaggeration, it is not
too far from the actual statements.  My experience with community (5 years
with Sharingwood, [yes, Rob Sandlin is the man he is today because of me 
;-)  ] & 1 year with Puget Ridge) lead me to believe that privacy is not
an issue of proximity, but of living unit design and some basic
courtesies.

I would like to hear from anyone on the L, but primarily the in-community
elders . . .What wisdom or experiences have you to share with our elders
that are examples of privacy and community coexisting beneficially.  Why
shouldn't the elders be afraid of losing their privacy?  And even if they
did lose some privacy(and they will), what do they have to gain?  Couldn't
they still benefit themselves, and the community, by living alone on the
perimeter?

Thanks for you thoughts . . . 

Bill Hartzell
Member of the Hundredfold Farm Project, a small rural cohousing community
just starting near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the first agreed to
proposal was not to call the community Battleground Cohousing.

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