Re: Aging in Place
From: Beth Baker (
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 12:34:00 -0700 (PDT)
As someone who writes about aging in community, I've been following this 
discussion with great interest.  I just last week interviewed Liz Walker, the 
director of EcoVillage cohousing for an article on the PBS website Next Avenue, 
on the "greening" of communities.  She told me that in EcoVillage's newest 
neighborhood, most of the units are accessible, because they realized they are 
going to be needing that more and more.  These units are single story, on the 
ground floor.  They also have 2-story units, and one idea was that a bedroom on 
the second floor could be used to house a caregiver if needed, as David Entin 
suggested. A number of years ago, Oz Ragland told me in an interview a similar 
idea--that perhaps a paid caregiver could live in a guest bedroom in a 
cohousing community and help one or more people as needed.

I don't live in cohousing, but in a close-knit community.  We too are trying to 
be intentional about helping each other out across the generations. So those of 
us who are either retired or self-employed help now and then with transporting 
kids or have extra keys on hand when they get locked out after school.  Some of 
us attend their plays or sporting events, even though our own kids are long 
grown.  People are very willing to help the older generation with 
transportation, heavy lifting, and so on.  The point is, that it's 
reciprocal--not just "help the old folks."  

Social isolation and loneliness are literally deadly for older people, 
contributing to all sorts of medical problems.  Cohousing communities are ideal 
for aging, by providing opportunities for social support, friendship, a sense 
of belonging, and having meaning by helping each other out.  

Beth Baker
12 Sherman Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301)270-8969 (office)
(301)537-1597 (cell)
bethbaker [at]
My So-Called Book Tour blog

Author, With a Little Help from Our Friends--Creating Community as We Grow 
Older (Vanderbilt University Press, May 2014)

Available through your local bookstore: 
Or from other booksellers
Barnes & Noble

On Aug 8, 2015, at 5:37 PM, David Entin wrote:

> A couple of folks recently asked about aging in place in cohousing.   Our
> community, Rocky Hill Cohousing, Northampton, MA is an inter-generational
> community.   We have young families, children of all ages (including eight
> born since our move-in ten years ago), middle aged folks, and three retired
> couples.   We now have five people in their seventies and several in
> sixties.   A year and a half ago we began an Aging Gracefully group that has
> been meeting monthly for interested community residents.   We have had a
> steady group of about a dozen, mainly the older folks here.   In our
> meetings, we have been looking into and discussing a range of issues
> relating to aging, including end-of-life decisions, reading "Being Mortal,"
> filling out health care proxy and the Five Wishes, exploring local services
> for the elderly, and talking about how to assist each other when there is a
> need.  This group has bonded through our monthly sharing and we now have
> pot-luck dinners prior to our meetings.  Our community and Common House are
> handicapped accessible.   Our homes are primarily duplexes.    Though our
> houses are two-story, we designed ours so we can live entirely on the first
> floor, where we have living-dining and kitchen area, our bedroom,
> handicapped accessible bathroom, washer and dryer, and accessible walkway.
> Visiting children and relatives and friends and possibly a potential live-in
> caretaker can stay in the two bedrooms and full bath upstairs.   We are also
> particularly fortunate that our daughter and her husband and our
> granddaughter (aged 7) also live here, about 100 yards away.  I believe most
> cohousing communities are inter-generational, though there is a growing
> number of senior cohousing developments.   The recent national conference
> featured an excellent session on aging in cohousing - people may want to see
> the notes from that meeting.
> David Entin, Rocky Hill Cohousing, Northampton, MA
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