Kids Vs Elders: Aging In Place
From: Caren Albercook (
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2006 08:27:18 -0700 (PDT)
   I was saddened to hear that anyone would be driven
out of cohousing by the needs of the children there,
and I'm anxious that it not happen in my community. 
I'm a working mom of 2 small kids and could easily
have missed frustrations not strong enough to be
voiced.  Could anyone add to this piece?  How has this
friction played out in your community?  
   At Sunward, in Ann Arbor, MI, we have friction over
noise and kids behaviour in the dining room.  We are
working on improving the acoustics there.  I don't
think that our use of community resources are
decidedly biased towards kids. And my hope is that if
we facilitate assisting our elders with targeted
services their needs will be acknowledged/validated in
turn.  Anyone?  Caren 

--- Alexander Robin A <alexande.robi [at]> wrote:

> Having an ill spouse, I have seen more of the
> medical system than I would have cared to and I
> agree that it is badly broken. On the societal end,
> the reason we are in such trouble with elder care is
> that our culture has devolved into one with little
> true community. Cohousing is one of the most
> promising trends to rectify the problems stemming
> from a society where people are so isolated from
> each other. 
> Yet even in cohousing there are problems due to
> people having busy lives and limited resources of
> time, money and energy. In the cohousing where we
> lived for 3 years, we got a lot of support and help
> when my spouse had the most need, but through
> natural evolution that particular community evolved
> to be largely a younger kid based one and all of us
> older folks either moved out or are planning to move
> out. 
> I, too, prefer an intergenerational mix. I suppose
> to serve as a place where elders can live at home as
> long as possible, providing reasonable care for them
> would have to be an explicitly stated part of the
> community's mission.
> Robin Alexander
> ________________________________
> From: Martin Sheehy [mailto:martinsheehy [at]]
> Sent: Thu 4/6/2006 1:00 PM
> To: Cohousing-L
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Re: Aging In Place In Cohousing
> This is the subject closest to my heart---' aging in
> place', ' elderCoHousing ' and related issues.
>   I think, as a physician executive, that the
> American healthcare ' system ' in no way shape or
> form should be ALLOWED to take care of us in our old
> age. The conventional Medical system fails at every
> level---from infancy to death. I, for one, do not
> want their pricey, ineffecient " care " during my
> last years.
>   Better, like here, we admit this, and discuss
> alternatives.
>   Martin.
> Fred H Olson <fholson [at]> wrote:
>   Caren Albercook started this thread and revived it
> with several
> additional messages.
> As list manager I congratulate you, Caren, on
> keeping the topic alive till
> others got around to responding. I think aging and
> intergenerational
> cohousing needs much more discussion. From observing
> the list for 12+
> years I've concluded messages do and do not get
> responses for a variety of
> reasons - timing , what else is being discussed,
> whether the topic lends
> itself to concise replies etc. It is abundantly
> clear that activity
> breeds activity. From time to time the list has no
> messages for a day or
> more but when someone posts something, a flurry of
> messages get posted.
> I've long wanted to conspire to get a number of
> messages posted on a topic
> to see if it would generate more activity. Never
> gotten around to doing
> it though.
> On the topic of Aging In Place In Cohousing, it
> seems to me unrealistic
> for all people stay in cohousing to the bitter end.
> Sometimes people's
> care needs simply exceed what can be provided
> non-professionally.
> But the support of the community can often postpone
> moving to more
> specialized facilities a long time.
> A few weeks ago Dr Bill Thomas was in town talking
> about his
> endeavor to harness community to make aging in place
> more workable.
> He calls these communities "Eldershire" See the
> links in the message
> for details. Eldershire communities are essentially
> like cohousing
> tho with more organized support for getting them
> built. His formal
> presentation here included a graph-like illustration
> showing his estimate
> of how much aid that elders could get from their
> community rather than
> from medical and social service agencies and the
> resulting prolonged
> period elders could stay in their homes. On average
> people with community
> support can stay in their homes much longer. If a
> large proportion of the
> population had community support, it could
> considerably reduce the
> pressure on our medical and social service system.
> Thomas comes to these conclusions based on his
> estimate as a gerontoligist
> that the current medical system will be able to
> handle our aging
> population.
> I think it remains to be seen how viable community
> results from this "if
> you build it they will come" approach. But I think
> he is sensitive to the
> issue.
> He has previously written making nursing homes more
> humane in his book
> _The Eden Alternative_ and can draw big audiences.
> He sees most nursing
> homes as a failed experiment over the last 40 years.
> I think he and the cohosuing movement have much to
> learn from each other.
> He says his motivation is that the current system
> for care of people in
> this country is broken and a more community based
> approach is the only way
> he sees of dealing with our aging population. He
> sees cohousing as
> necessarily becoming widespread to deal with aging.
> Interestingly Eldershire communities seem like they
> will be more
> intergenerational than "Senior Cohousing" tho he
> uses the term "senior
> rich". I personally prefer intergenerational
> communites. Some observers
> of intergenerational ("regular") cohousing in the US
> have however told me
> that they often see the needs of children trumping
> the needs of elders in
> many communities. I think this should change. The
> needs of both should
> be considered seriously. Hey we are all going to get
> old.
> Intergenerational communities would seem to have
> proportionately more
> resources to offer aging members without being
> overwhelmed compared to
> "senior" cohousing made up of all older people.
> Fred, who'll be 59 next month
> --
> Fred H. Olson Minneapolis,MN 55411 USA (near north
> Mpls)
> Communications for Justice - My new listserv org.
> UU, Linux
> My Link Page: Ham
> radio:WB0YQM
> fholson at 612-588-9532 (7am-10pm
> Central time)
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