Re: Senior cohousing
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 09:22:34 -0800 (PST)
This is exactly what we're doing here at Songaia. A subset of the
Community has already acquired two adjoining property that will host
clusters of senior-friendly spaces.

Both of these groups are exploring variations of the conventional
Cohousing housing model, including smaller spaces which may not be
fully self-contained that share more extensive common areas. We're
trying to learn from other sources of wisdom about how seniors can get
the care they need through the end of their lives, instead of just
serving housing healthy seniors until they need to move to something
like assisted care.

The first of these (New Earth Song) is now under development by a
group that I helped form. I'm no longer involved in that group except
as a supportive member of the broader community and I still have a
small amount of equity in the project. It will have six
fully-accessible spaces. The second (Life Song Commons, where we now
live after selling our Songaia Cohousing home) is in the early
visioning stages - we're not ready for outside involvement in this
project. We will be inviting new people (especially empty nesters to
seniors) to participate, but that probably won't be until I've retired
as Exec Dir of Coho/US - unless one of the other four owners decides
to more actively spearhead the large amount of work.

The Songaia HOA (the owners of the 10.6 acres where the 13 unit
Songaia Community is based) is not involved directly in the
development of these properties. All of us getting involved in this
are intent on mainting the large organic gardens, orchards, and
natural forest. The Songaia HOA is, however, actively involved in
formulating a new vision for our new neighborhood that shares more
resources amongst the three properties. A group has been meeting which
consists of members/residents of all three properties. It is called
the Greater Songaia Neighborhood group.

Toward growing community,

Craig Ragland
Songaia resident from 1992-2010
New Earth Song founder
Life Song Commons resident from 2010-????

On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM, Richart Keller <richart.keller [at]> 
> One way of dealing with the aging in place issues plus bringing in young
> families might be to construct a new section of the cohousing community (or
> a new nearby community) which is specifically designed to accomdate older
> folks--smaller units, easily accessible physically, clustered more closely
> together, and directly adjacent to a village of basic services including
> transportation, convenience retail, and, ideally, medical/dental services.
> With the connection to the existing cohousing community, folks from the
> existing cohousing might feel more inclined to move to the new section as
> they become less mobile and need smaller living quarters, thus freeing up
> housing for younger families.  Designed appropriately, there would be no
> pressing need to put age restrictions on the new housing; in fact, they
> might also accommodate younger folks who are less mobile, thus increasing
> the diversity of the community.
> Rick
> Richart Keller, AICP
> Pioneer Valley Cohousing
> 120 Pulpit Hill Road #25
> Amherst, MA 01002
> 413-835-0011
> 401 486-2677 (cell)
> .
> -----Original Message-----
> From: S. Kashdan [mailto:skashdan [at]]
> Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2010 1:16 AM
> To: Cohousing-L
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Senior cohousing
> Jackson Place Cohousing is nine years old. We have a multi-age community,
> with members ranging from 0 to their eighties. We have a few members who are
> in their early sixties and have been laid off from good paying white-collar
> jobs. They may find lower paying jobs, but, given the current job market,
> they may not, and illness may make early retirement necessary anyway. And,
> when thinking about the Social Security System, we also really need to
> remember the people who help us by building and
> maintaining our facilities through their manual labor, as well as the farm
> workers, truck drivers, waiters and waitresses, and supermarket employees
> who help us get our food, and even the physical therapists and
> chiropractors, all of whom often need to retire earlier than the average
> white-collar working person who does office and teaching and other such
> jobs. And we need to remember
> that many older people who are laid off from white-collar jobs when
> companies cut back are
> discriminated against because of their higher qualifications, which might
> justify higher pay, and therefore those people often have more difficulty
> getting new jobs even
> if they want and need to continue working.
> Here at Jackson Place Cohousing we are currently discussing how we as a
> community can develop a support system to help neighbors who need to retire
> and/or
> become disabled in some way, so they won't have to leave our community
> because of either financial or support or health care reasons. We would
> appreciate learning about how other established communities are dealing with
> this.
> Sylvie
> Sylvie Kashdan
> Jackson Place Cohousing
> 800 Hiawatha Place South
> Seattle, WA 98144
> info [at]
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Diane" <dianeclaire [at]>
> To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
> Cc: "YES Residents" <yesr [at]>
> Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 7:14 AM
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Senior cohousing
> Well I'm for both kinds and I am especially interested in the accommodations
> that multigenerational cohousing communities are making  as its middle-aged
> members become seniors.
> However, I would like to say something about those words about Social
> Security -- it will not go broke unless we join those who want it to
> belly-up by assuming it must go broke.  A few tweeks and it will last
> through the baby boomers and beyond.  the tweeks? 1) turn it from a
> regressive to a progressive tax -- at the moment the richer you are the
> smaller is the perventage of your income that you pay into it.  2) raise the
> retirement age slightly; 3) stop dipping into the fund to pay for deficits
> in other parts of the budget.
> Thanks,
> Diane
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