RE: Re: Questions re senior cohousing
From: Alexander Robin A (
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 13:52:35 -0800 (PST)
My God! How did it happen? I'm a senior! Seems like just moments ago I was a 
hippie living in a commune in Madison WI. Seriously, Bob raises some important 
points. At Eno Commons we have tons of kids. But the layout makes it so noise 
hasn't been a problem at all for my wife and me. Except at common house meals, 
and there we've set up a solution by having a "quiet room", using one of the 
auxiliary rooms in the CH for a quieter meal. Our house is very near the common 
house and we do hear the basketball bouncing, but the bedroom is in the back 
and is one of the quietest bedrooms I've ever had. Luck of the design, I guess. 
Another aspect of the design that reduces noise wonderfully is no street car 
noise!! I think many of us don't notice how noisy car tires are until we have 
the opportunity to live without it. Our cars are parked along the north side 
and there is no street within a few hundred yards. Finally, no air conditioner 
compressors! We have geothermal cooling except at the common house and that 
contributes tremendously to the sense of quiet. So, even with kids, the net 
noise here is much less than a standard neighborhood.
I like the idea of co - cohousings. That would give the best of both worlds.
Robin Alexander
Eno Commons


From: Bob Morrison [mailto:bomorris [at]]
Sent: Thu 3/17/2005 3:11 PM
To: cohousing-L [at]; Bob Morrison
Subject: [C-L]_ Re: Questions re senior cohousing

 I am a lurker on this list, but I am de-lurking because this is really
important stuff.
 On 3/16/05, Duncan Cavens wrote in part:

I'm at a loss to figure out what the attaction [of senior coho] is.

  Sharon Villines already said most of what I would have said on this. Here are 
some more thoughts.
  A lot of conventional cohousing communities are child-focused. That is, a 
high percentage of the activities are focused on children. That means fewer 
activities that are focused on adults. A lot of seniors don't feel comfortable 
living in a setup like this and, given the choice, would choose to live in a 
conventional retirement community.
  Also, kids make a lot of noise and a lot of seniors don't want to live with 
this noise. There are some things you can do with the designs to reduce this 
noise. Such as to put lots of soundproofing in the outside walls and shared 
walls of the units, and to not have stacked units, which are often prohibited 
by the zoning anyway. (Have you ever lived in a first floor apartment with 
children in the unit above you? That is one of several issues with stacked 
units.) But the noise is still an issue. There has been a lot of discussion on 
the list over the last 10 years about noise, mostly due to kids, in the common 
house during common meals. Some seniors simply can't live with this amount of 
noise. If they can't, their only choice is to forgo common meals, which wipes 
out one of the main reasons for living in cohousing in the first place.
  This doesn't mean people living in a senior coho will be totally isolated 
from kids. There will be kids continually visiting the place, probably more so 
than at a conventional retirement community. And, I would recommend that a 
senior coho be built close to a conventional coho (as is happening with Silver 
Sage), so that residents have more chances to spend time with kids.
  A lot of seniors don't want to live in a conventional retirement community. 
Such a community has most of the problems of a conventional condo community, 
such as that residents have no say in the design of the place and are 
prohibited from working on projects such as grounds maintenance. The only 
advantages I can see over a conventional condo community is that it's 
seniors-only (which some people want, partly due to the noise issue) and that 
it has organized social activities to bring people together.

Bob Morrison
Boxborough. MA

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