Re: Senior Cohousing versus seniors in Mixed-Age Cohousing
From: R.N. Johnson (
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 14:21:33 -0700 (PDT)

I value the range of age and experience in our group and personally would not 
want to live in a cohousing that was age limited. I have been gratified to see 
my son and the other children in the community develop relationships with a 
variety of adults in our community, including seniors.  The younger children in 
the community quickly figured which adults enjoyed their company, and have 
appointed themselves the greeters and watchers  of the group. We have 5 
children in our community and 14 adults, including 3 people in their 60's and 2 
in their fifties. I value the diversity in age and experience . 
    I do not see a clear divide along the lines of age or childlessness/ having 
children in terms of work.  Several of our most active members have small 
children, some of our seniors are so involved in a variety of wider political 
and wider community activities that they are often unable to participate in 
workdays, meetings and community maintenance.  When I hear someone say that 
none of the parents are participating in community maintenance activities,  or 
that elders are avoiding meals due to noise/chaos concerns, I wonder if an 
effort has been made to address barriers.  Is there childcare for young 
children during work parties/ meetings? Are older children invited/included? 
Are children and children's issues, as well as seniors and senior 
issues considered a vital part of the community, or an unpleasant issue to be 
addressed?   If the community takes the time to find out what is going on, and 
work on solutions together, it will usually
 come up with something that works better than what you get if the 
responsibiilty is left solely to the person or people either considered to be 
the problem , or to have the problem.  If one person is compleaining there are 
probably several others witha  milder version of the same concern. Noise at 
meals is an issue that comes up all over the place. Children (and adults) 
respond well when gently and respectfully reminded them of community 
agreements.  Those who prefer a quieter meal are more likely to come if they 
see an effort being made to address their issues, and if it is done with 
respect and consideration for all parties, no one is likely to be offended. 
I would not want to deny cohousing to elders who prefer to live apart from 
children, but I hope that many elders will continue to live in mixed age 
communities. I will never forget the trouble my grandparents got into at their 
senior mobile home park for allowing my aunt, a spring chicken of 51, to use 
the hot tub unescorted.
Randa Johnson
New Brighton Cohousing
Aptos, CA
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