Re: senior vs. multigen
From: Beverly Jones Redekop (
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:07:11 -0800 (PST)
We're having conflict between empty nesters and parents in our community,
three to five years in.

What would have helped? (I'm a 40-something mother of three sons 4-12)

1. At the planning stage, decide about any restrictions for children, such
as the minimum age to enter the common house without an adult. People need
full disclosure in advance so they are not dismayed in either direction,
such as parents dismayed that children are restricted until an age that
feels too high or seniors dismayed at children allowed freedom at an age
that seems too low.

2. More soundproofing for the children's room in the common house

3. Avoid "this is a running place" visual cues in the common house (We have
this huge bright hall running straight from the windowed front door to the
windowed back door and children's room: it begs children to run and slide
down it. We're going to add some curtains or doors to fix this.)

4. Program big places where children can run and play exuberantly. If you
won't want to allow children to run along garden paths, make an equally
large place where they can run. Don't have this space by bedroom windows if
it will make people upset about disruptions to naps (babies or adults).

5. Include cozy quiet magical places to support children in expressing
their quiet reflective sides. This helps children express their
non-exuberant sides which can help adults and children form connections and

6. Do NOT stack your flats and DO NOT BELIEVE anyone who claims that
stacked flats can be soundproofed. This is our #1 cause of hostility. Noise
feels like torture so people are very angry at sources of noise. You must
not ever stack your flats. I was on our marketing team and I repeated this
great line about skim coats of concrete and soundproofing this and that,
but it was absolutely untrue once the units were built. If you build your
units side by side, you are not vulnerable to believing in some miracle
impossible soundproofing.

Perhaps sound could be minimized with a huge investment in special
materials, but I still recommend that you test actually-built units, and if
they work, insist on identical building specs.

I don't know if people who want seniors cohousing and people who want
intergenerational can compromise. Because we all wanted intergenerational,
even though we still have problems, I am confident we will solve them.
Perhaps you should consider building two separate projects.

On Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:40 AM Susan Elster < [at]> wrote:

> We are a group of about 20 households (so far) in Israel in the midst of a
> site search for what will be the first Israeli cohousing community. We
> began, explicitly, as a community of folks who wanted to age in an
> intentional community, after dismissing current approaches to supporting
> elders as unacceptable. We've benefitted enormously from the many cohousing
> resources and knowledge-sharing available via (thank you!)
> and
> wanted to consult with as many of you as possible about our current
> conundrum.
> Right now we range in age from around 55 to 72. As we continue to recruit
> people to reach our target of 30-35 households, we are struggling with the
> question of whether to remain a seniors-only community or to invite younger
> people to join us, including families with young children. There are
> differences of opinion on the wisdom of both approaches. Issues range from
> concern about whether, in multi-gen communities, resources would tend to
> flow toward children, leaving senior adults without needed services,
> supports and amenities - to concerns about whether a seniors-only community
> can be sustainable over time as members age in place (e.g., will younger
> seniors continue to move in as the community's average age increases? How
> challenging is community management for aging members?). There are also
> more
> subjective preferences around living in mixed vs. seniors-only communities
> (e.g., from worries that children and serenity don't mix to not wanting to
> live in an 'old age home').
> We recognize that seniors-only communities are relatively new and that
> perhaps some of our questions are not, as yet, answerable, but we'd be
> grateful for any and all experiences, opinions, strategies for addressing
> issues around aging in cohousing, and words of wisdom from those of you
> living in both multi-gen communities and seniors-only communities.
> Thanks!
> Susan Elster
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