Re: co-care agreements?
From: Liz Ryan Cole (
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 08:40:35 -0800 (PST)
and there is more to consider… what if we planned KNOWING that most of us will 
need help, especially as we age.  Do we have a “grandmother’s house”? use au 
pairs who help both young families and older ones, create monthly fees  that 
are high enough to pay ourselves (and others) to do some of the necessary work 
- which means that even when someone can’t cook once a week, or garden, etc. 
that either someone else in the community will be paid to do it, or we can 
provide a living wage to a member of our larger community (and thus avoid some 
of the inward focus that some communities get stuck with).


Liz Ryan Cole
lizryancole [at]
Pinnacle Cohousing at Loch Lyme Lodge
Lyme, NH
Home 802.785.4124
Work (Vermont Law School) 802.831.1240
Mobile 802.274.1511

where Lyme’s Planning Board continues to argue that single family homes on 
large lots are the only way for people to live (in Lyme at least) and we push 
back.  :)

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire 
to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
― E.B. White

On Jan 27, 2017, at 11:12 AM, Eris Weaver <eris [at]> wrote:

Muriel wrote:
>> This topic is bringing up an unresolved issue for me about the goal of
>> helping cohousers age in place. Does it make sense to plan on staying
>> longer in your home, with whatever kind of assistance, past the point when
>> you can "do" cohousing except in a social sense, receiving visits and
>> perhaps getting some kinds of assistance from your neighbors that you can't
>> reciprocate? How many such residents can a community sustain?

That last sentence is the key question: How many non-working members can a 
given community sustain in the long term? This is partially a function of 
community size - my community of 30 households can hold more than a community 
of 12 - but lots of other factors come into play.

I've often discouraged potential cohousers who seem too focused on all the 
things they think they will GET from cohousing but don't seem to realize that 
they will also be expected to GIVE. Similarly, as our communities age, we can't 
assume that turnover will take care of our needs - we can't just expect that 
we'll naturally attract loads of younger, more energetic new neighbors who will 
be thrilled to pick up all the work that we can't do anymore...especially when 
they don't have the longterm relationships the previous members do.

Some time ago Laird Schaub wrote an essay about his community, Sandhill, 
eventually deciding not to add anymore new members over a certain age, as they 
were becoming too "top heavy" demographically. They just coulnd't for the 
longterm continue to do the physical work that they do with the bodies 
available. (Sandhill is an income-sharing agricultural commune, very different 
than cohousing, but the idea still applies - especially in communities with  
strong "we must DIY everything!" sentiment.)

We can all handle a small number of folks being "out" at a time - right now one 
of my neighbors, who broke her leg and lives in an upstairs unit she cannot now 
access, is living in the common house guest room and folks are helping her out 
while she recovers. But if there were FOUR  folks needing that level of 
assistance at the same time, I think compassion fatigue and just logistical 
issues would prevent us from doing it well.

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