Re: Are you Keeping your "Seniors" at home in your community?
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 07:48:50 -0800 (PST)
How we age successfully at Songaia has been a hot topic for a few
years now. Songaia is 35 people in 13 homes on 11 acres near Seattle
AND several associate members who do not live at Songaia (yet). We
range in age from 0 to 76 - importantly, most of our early members are
now empty-nesters and/or seniors.

I was first energized about this topic when enjoying an after-dinner
conversation with Ann Zabaldo at Berkeley Cohousing. We were in
Berkeley for a Coho/US Cohousing Development workshop and Chuck's book
on Senior Cohousing was new - and a hot topic.

I found the idea of Senior Cohousing very exciting. But even more
exciting for me were the ideas shared by seniors who were already
living in multi-generational Cohousing. As a result of these
conversations, I wrote a short article about this for Communities
Magazine (this lead to my first connection with Diana Leafe

The more I thought about aging in place, the more clear I became that
Songaia needed to get out in front of this issue. Since then, some of
us have:

(1) learned a lot by participating in a ten-session study group which
was based loosely on the Senior Cohousing Study Group One (see Chuck
Durrett's book Senior Cohousing). We had an average attendance of 19
members and associate members across the 10 sessions.

(2) created an internal support system based loosely on "Share The Care."

As Joan notes, caring for one person in your current homes/community
may be feasible, caring for multiple people may not.

(3) purchased an adjoining property for the development of an
additional "community housing node" which will be a part of the larger
"Songaia Neighborhood." This new space will allow some of  our members
to age in senior-friendly homes, thus making space for young families
to live in our existing Songaia homes.

These may be worth considering in your Mar 20 panel discussion - I
wish I could be there!

Craig Ragland
Songaia Cohousing Community member since 1992

On Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 6:18 AM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
> Hello all -- the following is a request for information from a
> panelist in one of the workshops at the upcoming "Cohousing:  Growing
> Smart Communities" conference at the University of Maryland on Sat.
> March, 20, 2010.  See for more
> info on the conference.  I'll send you all a description of the actual
> workshop under separate email.
> PLEASE REPLY DIRECTLY TO JOAN.  Her email is as the bottom of her
> request.  Thank you all and I hope to see you at the conference!
> Best --
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takoma Village Cohousing
> Washington, DC
> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
> Falls Church VA
> 703 663 3911
> --begin--
> Hello!  I'm Joan King and I live w/ my husband Ed at Eastern Village
> in Silver Spring, MD.  We are founding members of EVC.  Both my
> husband and I are 70.  Although we are very active and involved in our
> community right now I'm wondering what will happen to us as we get
> "older."
> So.  I am seeking input from cohousing communities--elder, and
> intergenerational --about support services for members as they reach
> their 70s, 80s, 90s.   I am one of the panelists for an Aging in
> Community workshop for the March 20th cohousing conference!
> At some point even the cohousing model has difficulty sustaining some
> individuals in the community.   What happens when your community
> members -- who may have been founding members -- reach an age when
> they need ongoing daily support?  Are they expected to leave?
> Supporting one member is one thing.  What happens when the community
> ages so there are 5 or 10 members needing support?  Have you, as a
> community, thought about this?  Does your community, as a community,
> talk about this?
> Does  your community have in place some system for providing support
> services to older members?  Have you all talked about keeping elders
> at home?  Or ... do you simply assume that they will move to a
> retirement community or assisted living when they can no longer fully
> participate in the community?  What are your plans?  I'm very
> interested in hearing examples of how you have or are keeping your
> older residents at home in your cohousing community.
> Here at Eastern Village our "senior" members meet for brunch once a
> month.  I began noticing that some members were making plans to
> "retire" to another retirement community or making plans to live
> outside our cohousing community when they got to a certain age.  That
> started me thinking:  how can I and others stay right here at Eastern
> Village?
> I'm grateful for any examples you have of how you are dealing with
> this.  Or plan to deal with this question of keeping "seniors" at home.
> Please send any examples or thoughts you have to:
> Joan King <joan [at]>
> 301-587-4440
> Thank you!
> Joan King
> Eastern Village
> Silver Spring, MD
> --end--
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