Re: co-care agreements?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 12:40:42 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 26, 2017, at 6:47 PM, Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]> 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?

There are many, many jobs people of every ability can do. We had an 80+ person 
who swept our sidewalks I don’t know how many times a week. He not only made 
our sidewalks look great, he was out talking to people and could set his own 
pace. I saw him one night finishing up the pots and pans with the help of a six 
year old. She brought the pans to him, he was washing, she was drying, and he 
told her where to put them away. They were both having a wonderful time.

On workdays we have someone sitting with the list of tasks to help people find 
and understand tasks and who to see for direction. That person is also a 
message taker and giver.

A person in a wheelchair took the work from the kitchen to a table to make it 
easier for her— peeling potatoes, etc. Soon two or three people are sitting 

There are always jobs. They may not be essential, and a younger, smarter, more 
able person may do the job faster, but it is still appreciated by the community 
and is work. Sort the spoons. Fill the salt shakers.

People who are quite senile and incontinent can be difficult. But we had one on 
a team. The person loved it. The team managed by allowing them to bring up 
whatever they wanted to talk about when they brought it up and then went back 
to the agenda.

The difficulty is finding a person who is a good caretaker for them on a 24/7 
basis who  also becomes integrated into the community. We have had au pairs 
that fully participated and still come back to visit. But other helpers have 
been irritating and intrusive and not even nice to their patient.

I was sad when one person moved to assisted living before I thought she needed 
to because she didn’t feel she was contributing.

How many children can you handle. They usually don’t do anything for years, and 
further, they draw their parents away from other tasks. We had two teenagers 
leave for college one year and we got a surge of parents taking on jobs and 
coordinating events.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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