Re: fair share of chores
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 19:54:01 -0700 (MST)
> Our community would like to know how other communities deal with situations
>> where members cannot do their share of the cooking and other chores because
>> of age-related limitations.

You can find yourselves in a bind if you have an expectation that a 
certain amount of cooking and chores will be done, and that everyone is 
supposed to participate at a similar level. If you have limited 
person-power, then it makes sense to tailor your expectations to what is 
available. It might mean simplifying some things, skipping some others. 

Each person's availability is influenced by their physical and mental and 
emotional health, short or long-term, their personality, the demands of 
their family/friends/work life, as well as their individual skills, 
preferences, and passions. In addition, some people are really into 
community stuff, and others are more introverted, or less excited about 
the community aspect. There will never be real equality of participation.

Given all those constraints, the best we can do is to avoid unnecessary 
additional obstacles. Be sure people know how they can help, and that 
they have positive experiences of helping, with acknowledgement in 
Break jobs down into small parts, or brief commitments, if you find it's 
hard to get bigger commitments. 
Team people up, to balance their abilities and provide pleasant company. 
Use food as an incentive, if there's a work party. 
If people have limited ability, find something they CAN do, and ask if 
they'd be willing. 

(When I drafted our first common-house-cleaning team list, I knew one gal 
was pretty burned out on community work. I created a job of just taking 
the trash can in and out, and she accepted it, which does make a 

If there aren't enough cooks to have team-cooked meals with a certain 
frequency, then just do what's do-able and don't sweat it. On the list, I 
read how one group was doing community meals simply by everyone bringing 
their own supper to the common  house on those days. We tried it for our 
first months, and it was pleasant, and super simple. 

Here at RoseWind, there are no work or participation requirements, just a 
general expectation that people will do what they can, when they can. It 
actually works out pretty well. 

Lynn Nadeau

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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