Re: Aging in (cohousing) Community - has your community taken this topic on?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2013 10:22:51 -0700 (PDT)
On Sep 15, 2013, at 12:49 PM, Dyan Wiley <dyanwiley21 [at]> wrote:

> I'm curious if any communities have taken on discussions and even created new 
> value statements/policies/practices to address aging in place - especially in 
> terms of social connections and support. 

When one of our residents began requiring a lot of care and her family was 
expecting us to do more than her immediate neighbors could do, one of our 
residents researched this. She talked to nurses, religious leaders, parenting 
specialists, etc., to determine what we should and could do. Somethings we 
shouldn't be doing, for example.

The list is posted on the site and I also pasted it in below.

Guidelines for Providing Health-Related Support to Neighbors

Neighbors may provide helpful services but not critical services or services 
create a dependency. 

These include:

1. Picking up medications at the pharmacy, but not administering medications.

2. Shopping, but not being the sole shopper.

3. Bringing in some meals, but not being the primary cook or meal server.

4. Accompanying the patient and an aid to a medical appointment, but not 
providing daily help with transportation or moving around the community.

5. No assistance with intimate body care or bathroom functions.

6. No responsibility for making appointments or arranging for health care 

7. No responsibility for changing bandages or other health care devices.

The principles on which these guidelines are based are that neighbors should 
not be expected to perform (1) activities that interfere with the normal 
functioning of their own household on a continuing basis or (2) that could 
cause harm to the patient or liability to the neighbor if not done or not done 


When one has a more intimate relationship with a neighbor, these guidelines may 
not apply but they are still good points to consider when making commitments to 
neighbors even on a short term basis. Short-term expectations can slip into 
long-term expectations creating tensions because they are not easily reversed.

This was the case for us. Temporary support for a fall turned into care for an 
increasingly ill person. The fall was a symptom, not the problem.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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