Spreading the Coho Word

the coho forum audience
Sandi addressing the forum

Those of us on the marketing teams of cohousing communities are well aware that cohousing is not yet embedded in the American culture. In fact just the opposite. Americans pride themselves on their independence.

We at Wolf Creek Lodge recognize the need to first educate those with an interest in cohousing. Only then will they be receptive to invitations to visit our community. We have had success in partnering with other cohousing communities and presenting Cohousing Forums. Earlier this month on July 10th Wolf Creek Lodge teamed with Phoenix Commons and others to present a “Senior Cohousing Forum – Cohousing for the 50+ Generation”. We did this in San Rafael, CA.

We were joined by Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant of McCamant & Durrett Architects and Cohousing Partners.

An audience of around 90 listened to Chuck discussing the benefits of the cohousing lifestyle and demonstrating the importance of appropriate architectural design. We introduced the audience to Wolf Creek Lodge, an established senior cohousing community in Grass Valley, CA and to Phoenix Commons, a community currently under construction on the Oakland waterfront. Sandi Bowman (sbowman [at] sandibowman [dot] com) invited members of the audience to join her group who are planning a cohousing community somewhere in Marin County.

The audience then assembled in groups of 8 to discuss their current living situation, how well they knew their neighbors, how their parents spent their lives after 50 and their own options. As before when we have had these break out groups, people were very engaged in the conversation and in some cases somewhat concerned about the future.

Katie McCamant then explained the financial realities of forming a core group and creating a cohousing community. Welcome to the world of real estate development. Although Katie could point to many success stories she encouraged audience members to first try and join an existing community before embarking on the adventure of creating a new one.

To complete the afternoon a panel of four Wolf Creek Lodge members answered questions about what it was really like to live in a cohousing community. Questions included how to deal with annoying behavior, what about pets, what if I cannot cook and what did they share?

The audience took advantage of the social hour to make contact with others who may help them in their search for community.

Two cohousers were there to represent the National Cohousing Association.

We know these forums work. People leave them and join cohousing communities – not always ours. Just remember to send us a box of chocolates if you are the lucky recipients of a graduate from one of our forums.

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Learn how to create a Senior Cohousing Community

The Aging in Community website http://www.agingincommunity.com/models/senior_cohousing.html has a good description of Senior Cohousing. The following is excerpted from that website:
"Part of what is driving this movement, according to [Chuck] Durrett, is the tendency of Boomers to reinvent society's institutions as they engage them. 'What is more audacious than 25 seniors deciding that they should build their own neighborhood?,' Durrett asks.'What is more audacious than 25 seniors deciding, ‘hell, they don’t know how to do it, we’re gonna figure out out how to do it.’ All these seniors should stay in their houses, not just be told to be happy in assisted care.' ”

McCamant & Durrett Architects/The Cohousing Company and Sage Cohousing Advocates have a workshop coming up to help Boomers create the living situation that will work best for them. Aging Successfully 2014 - Creating Senior Cohousing is coming up October 6-10 in Nevada City, CA.

This 5-day instructional workshop combines experiential learning on the issues of aging and how to create a supportive community, along with the details and logistics of cohousing development. We will bring together professionals from a myriad of fields involved in cohousing and senior cohousing in North America, including: financing, policy leaders, developers, architects, community organizers, social advocates, and others who are interested in facilitating workshops to help seniors discover the difficult realities and beneficial possibilities of aging-in-place with cohousing.
Come join us for Aging Successfully 2014 this October 6 – 10, 2014. You can be instrumental in creating the vibrant community life that today’s seniors truly want, and need right now. For more information and to register, go to http://www.cohousingco.com/category/workshops/ Registration discount offered through August 15.

Here's to aging in community for a better life!