Re: Cohousing that integrates a limited number of adult persons with disabilities
From: Kathryn McCamant (
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2016 10:13:45 -0800 (PST)
I think you raise  lot of good points Sharon. Hard to have an trully open,
honest discussion about these issues, even in community.

But as you said in your post, the reality is that these things are going
on in people¹s lives all the time (at work, at school, at the grocery
store, etc), we just generally only know about the issues of those closest
to us. Our challenge is to be able to be empathetic without being
overwhelmed, and to acknowledge there are more people/issues that need
help than we individually or as a community can actually take on.

Kathryn McCamant, President
CoHousing Solutions
241B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755

On 1/15/16, 8:19 AM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Sharon Villines"
< [at] on
behalf of sharon [at]> wrote:

>I know this is a sensitive topic and no one may respond at all. How many
>people who need extra support can a community accommodate without
>becoming dominantly a care community?
>After 15 years of pretty normal life stresses I think this is a serious
>question. I used to wonder if everyone in cohousing had problems and
>that¹s why they moved in. But then I realized that these are all common
>problems but we usually don¹t know about them. In cohousing we know.
>In 15 years, we have had:
>pregnancies (not all easy)
>births (not all easy)
>long periods of cancer treatments, incapacity, and death
>sudden deaths
>household conflicts that affected others
>teens with emotional and behavior problems
>teens chronically truant
>stress from unemployment in more than one household
>descents into infirmity and senility
>absence to deal with family issues elsewhere
>absence to find employment elsewhere
>accidents or illnesses dangerous to residents with particular
>children without enough care at home
>special attention to all facilities and activities so they are accessible
>I¹ve worded these as multiples so I¹m not pointing a finger at one person
>but almost all of these were multiples. Some of the most difficult were
>multiples ‹ cancer, for example.
>Nine months of a difficult pregnancy next door is nine months of a
>difficult pregnancy in my unit too. And I have 43 units ³next door.²
>People being unemployed, particularly with children, makes me
>particularly anxious. We are a community with many people working for
>non-profit organizations. During the big recession many were out of work,
>some several times. Others took income reductions of 10%. Some were
>repeatedly unemployed.
>There are many examples of care communities designed for foster parents,
>etc., so this can certainly be done. But when the percentage of
>households rises above a certain level, it isn¹t ³normal.² Normal is
>time-consuming enough.
>I had a friend whose husband died of Alzheimer¹s. She benefitted from a
>support group and day care, but when neighbors also had spouses with
>Alzheimer¹s, they either avoided each other or didn't discuss it.
>Otherwise they would have been overwhelmed. They would have had
>Alzheimer¹s 24/7 themselves.
>Welcoming diversity means welcoming diversity. I¹m not speaking against
>focussed communities but the reality is that cohousing might be different
>from other solutions, but any focus will reduce diversity ‹ not increase
>it. And will need specialized support available, not just neighbors. One
>child who needs special supervision, can be supported by neighbors. But
>can five? Or even 3?
>We need to be careful what we promise because often unwittingly, we are
>already taking on responsibilities when we choose cohousing. That¹s what
>makes a neighborhood.
>Sharon Villines
>Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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