Re: Senior cohousing
From: Beverly Jones Redekop (
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 12:37:47 -0800 (PST)
Yarrow Ecovillage is developing its multigenerational cohousing first, but
we also plan to have seniors cohousing onsite.  We figure that some seniors
enjoy the liveliness and vitality of children and other seniors would prefer
to avoid the need for conversations about how children need to remember to
pick up scattered outside toys.  Many of the moms in the multigenerational
have plans to sneak over to seniors cohousing for lovely quiet events with
candles and tablecloths!

I agree that we could use Sharon's list as a reminder of how to keep
multigenerational attractive for people of all ages, but even if we "fix"all
of those items, there might still be people who want to feel free to ....I
don't know, grow poisonous flowers in their window boxes or leave delicate
china figurines on a table outside their front door.  It might be nice to
have a common house bathroom that would never have water splashed about or
grimy marks on the handtowel.  I would not take the need for seniors
cohousing as evidence of failed multigenerational cohousing.

I really like Sharon's list, however, and will share it with my neighbours
and neighbours-in-waiting.

Beverly (1 hour east of Vancouver, BC)


          Beverly Jones Redekop

    beverly.jones.redekop [at]


On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 11:25 AM, Laura Fitch <lfitch [at]> 

> I disagree with the notion that the senior cohousing movement detracts from
> multi-generational cohousing.
> I actually am very excited about senior cohousing, and determined to help
> make it happen.  I look at the baby boomer tsunami that is about to hit
> retirement age - and I conclude that my generation is in BIG trouble if we
> do not figure out how to better house ourselves in our later years.  There
> will not be enough multi-generational cohousing to do it.  Social Security
> may be broke.  I sincerely believe we will need to explore MANY solutions
> and this is one solution that should be available for whoever wants it.
> I am especially excited about the two types going in side by side as in the
> case of Silver Sage and Wild Sage communities in Boulder!
> Laura Fitch, AIA, LEED AP
> Kraus-Fitch Architects, Inc.
> 110 Pulpit Hill Rd.
> Amherst, MA  01002
> 413-549-5799
> lfitch [at]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sharon Villines [mailto:sharon [at]]
> Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 8:41 AM
> To: Cohousing-L
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Any family-based 55+ cohousing in existence?
> On 12 Dec 2010, at 11:56 PM, balaji [at] wrote:
> > movement.  Why?  Because it takes seniors out of the loop, and constrains
> > the development of true (i.e., multigenerational) communities.
> Well, just the opening I needed to engage this subject. I also believe this
> is not a good trend for cohousing because it is the seniors who do a vital
> if not largest share of work in the community. Our community would collapse
> without them.
> Our most dependable people are over 60. They have more flexible time and
> have a greater understanding of "larger than my household"
> responsibilities.
> They are less overwhelmed by their own lives and have out-grown the
> expectation that someone else will do it. Many young people are parented to
> believe that others (parents, teachers, counselors, etc.) are out there and
> will take care of things.
> Of our residents who are over 60 there is not one who is a slacker. Not all
> are hale and hearty but they are all dependable to the best of their
> ability. None use their infirmities as an excuse for not stepping in when
> something needs to be done, and those under 50 do when they have a cold.
> Most don't need to be asked to pitch in. Even those who are 85+ have
> ongoing
> leadership and task responsibilities. If it is within their physical
> ability, they are responsible. This far from true of the under 50 crowd.
> If people under 50 don't want to stop the drift to senior cohousing, they
> need to look at the reasons older people want their own spaces. I haven't
> made a study of this but on my list and on the lists of those I've talked
> with are:
> 1. An expectation of adult behavior in some areas of the commonhouse _and_
> the grounds all the time and at some time in most areas of the CH. This
> requires a concept of the CH has something other than a rumpus room for
> children or an unsupervised student dining hall.
> 2. Some meals where children are not present so adults can speak not just
> to
> be heard but to have uninterrupted conversations and make jokes that
> someone
> else may not want their children to hear. And continue them past school day
> bedtimes.
> 3. An understanding that on a regular basis there will be events for which
> parents have to make their own arrangements for their own children. The
> people over 50 have either raised their children or chosen not to raise
> them
> and most probably did not join the community for the sole purpose of
> assuming responsibility for more. Emergency back up and support for
> childcare at meetings and workdays is the expected limit on childcare. Some
> will do much more but should not be expected to nor repeatedly asked.
> 4. Understand the difference between child-friendly and child-centered.
> Child-centered is not multigenerational.
> 5. Parents must remind themselves that their children are not holy causes.
> No crusades.
> Cohousing is wonderful but multi-generational takes focus on the needs of
> all the generations, not just the children and their parents.
> It would be interesting to have some discussions of how this mult-focus
> could be assured. How would you structure the budget and the prioritization
> of activities to ensure that it was being done?
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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