Founders Band Together to Showcase Innovative Ways to "do" Aging

[Editor's Note: Village Hearth Cohousing is a sponsor of the Aging Better Together Conference. Come join us!]

These are exciting times on the cohousing front in the Triangle area of North Carolina! Three forming senior cohousing communities are working cooperatively to spread the good news of cohousing as an innovative way to "do" aging differently than our parents.

Nancy Francis, research assistant to Anne Glass, PhD, Gerontology Program Coordinator at UNC-Wilmington, and Margaret Roesch and I, of Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, began meeting casually over the summer as a kind of Founders Support Group. When word came of a new forming group in Durham, Intown Neighborhood Place, we issued an invitation to join us. We'd met Marjorie McKenzie and Velez Childress at Chuck Durrett's Senior Cohousing intensive at the national conference in May 2015, and we were excited that their group was moving along. Marjorie and Velez agreed to join us for our Founders lunches, enriching us with their perspective. Marjorie and a few members of her group added their voices to our group's to create a very engaging Study Group I, held in Fall 2015.

People in the Triangle tend to be very dedicated to their particular location. Because Intown Neighborhood Place wants to be, well, "intown," and Village Hearth Cohousing has land on the far edge of the city limits, we are not competing geographically for members. We're both looking to be supportive senior environments, each with our own twists: Intown is hoping to be affordable possibly within a cooperative model, and Village Hearth plans to be LGBT-focused.

When Katie McCamant led Village Hearth in our Kick-off Workshop in November 2015, she also did a public presentation for us on senior cohousing. We invited all the local cohos to "table" with us, and Intown, Elderberry (rural senior), and Arcadia (multigenerational) participated. Our audience appreciated seeing a range of cohousing possibilities represented. And the coolest result of that night is that now Raleigh Senior Cohousing is forming! Kayelily Middleton, Dave Davenport, and Dona McNeil enrich and inspire us all in the Founders group.

Raleigh Senior Cohousing, www.raleigh-senior-cohousing.com, describe themselves as a group of mature, like-minded individuals and couples who want to form an old-fashioned "small-town" community in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are looking for active seniors (55+) who are ready to embark on an adventure to prepare for the rest of their lives!

Intown Neighborhood Place, www.cohousing.org/Intown%20Neighborhood%20Place, is an adult (age 50+) micro community dedicated to encouraging, supporting and nurturing each other as we age in place. We believe in sharing resources to lessen life's challenges. We want to be environmentally responsible and financially responsible by building an affordable urban community.

Village Hearth Cohousing, www.VillageHearthCohousing.com, is now gathering LGBTs, friends and allies to create a caring community of active adults in beautiful Durham, NC. Our intention is to age in place in a community of “good neighbors.” We’ll each have the cozy privacy of our own smaller sustainable home along with ample opportunities to be social while giving and accepting support within the community.

So, if you're forming a community in the NC Piedmont, and you could use a little encouragement in your process, contact me at VillageHearthCohousing [at] gmail [dot] com for the date of our next Founders Lunch.