Re: troubled resident
From: lcamundsen (
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 21:14:11 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Lynette,
We have had an instance similar to the one you describe. It is very difficult. I think our strength was in the open communication network available to support the community members who involved themselves in the person's care.Eventually when the family members were able to be there for the person and arrangements had to be made, the issues came up at a community meeting and emotional support was offered by/for both community and family. However it is very hard to keep a balance during the transition time when the problems are not clear and the main focus is on the losses rather than the next steps. Three things I learned from our experiences are: 1. We are neighbours not professional care-givers and that is OK. 2.Doing our best , then stepping back is an honest and helpful thing to do because it leaves space for what needs to happen. 3. It is essential for us to know what resources are available for this kind of need in the wider community. Whether first contact is made through the emergency services or a medical clinic or even through police services, it is a beginning for the troubled person to get more professional help.

Good Luck! Please remember the person may not be themselves at all. What you are doing as good neighbours is what cohousing is all about. It is enough even if the resident's situation does not improve.
Camilla Amundsen
Quayside Village
Vancouver BC

----- Original Message ----- From: "Lynette Bassman" <lbassman [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 2:51 PM
Subject: [C-L]_ troubled resident


We have an older resident who has recently been struggling with some kind of dementia-like syndrome (still being diagnosed) that involves acute paranoia for at least part of most days, and mild confusion during the good times. Several other residents have been in touch with her adult daughter who lives about 4 hours away, and have been helping manage the situation and take care of the resident, taking her to doctors' appointments, trying to soothe her, encourage her to take her medication, etc. But her needs are escalating, and she does not always respond to us. Instead, she sometimes becomes quite frightened of us. So unless the situation improves very soon, we are thinking that she won't be able to continue to live here, despite all the loving support that her neighbors can provide. We are wondering if any other communities have faced similar situations and if so, what your experience was. We especially are struggling with the limits of the care that it is appropriate for neighbors to provide, and how to help her daughter know when it is no longer okay for her to live here, or at least not without professional in-home care. Thank you for any wisdom you can share.

La Querencia Fresno Cohousing
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