Aging in Community

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Community Building at Wolf Creek Lodge

Members of Wolf Creek Lodge have talked about living in community for many years and have agreed on various policies and guidelines. We have met for monthly general meetings and joined together in social events but now reality has struck.

Wolf Creek Lodge is a senior cohousing community in Grass Valley, CA. We received our certificate of occupancy from the City of Grass Valley in October last year and the required final document from the California Department of Real Estate in December.  By now most members have moved in.

Much of the members’ time is consumed with furnishing their homes and organizing life in a new location. However, the community has formed.

Generally the “real thing” has been excellent.  The community is very functional.  Individual members are pitching in to make the place happen.

Getting things done

Cohousing – Senior or NOT

Of the many cohousing communities in the U.S only a very few declare themselves as “Senior Cohousing.”

As a member of the marketing team at Wolf Creek Lodge I enjoy talking with prospective members about my motivation to join a cohousing community and listening to them discuss theirs.  Since Wolf Creek Lodge declares itself as senior cohousing we soon get into a discussion about why “senior” and not “intergenerational.”

Now I have heard many seniors say they want to live with people of different ages and look forward to interacting with children.  Many feel they have much to offer the children.  Many no longer work and therefore have time available to spend with the kids.

This is a very reasonable viewpoint.  My response is to respect their opinion and to encourage them to investigate Nevada City cohousing – an established intergenerational community with 7 miles of Wolf Creek Lodge.

 

Wow -- Walls at Wolf Creek Lodge

The members of Wolf Creek Lodge are excited to see their walls going up.

The Wolf Creek Lodge community was formed in 2006 when Kathryn McCamant identified an ideal plot of land on Wolf Creek in Grass Valley, California for a multifaceted cohousing community.  The community will include both an intergenerational cohousing community and a senior cohousing community.

Over time the senior cohousers, Wolf Creek Lodge, recruited more members, worked with the architects, McCamant and Durrett, and were ready to start construction.  However, the financial crisis of 2008 brought everything to a halt.  The bank was no longer able to offer a construction loan but suggested we reapply several months later, but the terms would be more challenging.

The community was determined.  They made additional upfront commitments themselves and reapplied for a loan.  Finally in September of 2010 the bank gave its approval.

California recognizes Cohousing as a more Sustainable Living Environment

The theme of the 2012 National Conference is “Creating Sustainable Neighborhoods; Learning from the Cohousing Experience.” Governor Jerry Brown of California recently endorsed the concept of cohousing as a more sustainable living environment.

The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards are made each year by the Governor of California. This year Jerry Brown was at the awards ceremony to recognize McCamant and Durrett Architects of Wolf Creek Lodge as one of the recipients for 2011. The awards are “given only to individuals, organizations, and businesses who exemplify exceptional leadership for protecting and enhancing the environment while at the same time promoting economic growth”.

Legal Issues with Senior Cohousing

Legal Issues.  Senior Cohousing presents an interesting legal issue because such communities seek to limit the population to adults, i.e., to exclude children (under the age of 18) from permanent residency.  On the face of it, such restrictions would appear to violate Federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of "familial status" (the presence or anticipated presence of children under 18 in a household).

Familial Status Issue -- Age 55+.  Federal law on the subject starts with the Civil Rights Act of 1968.  Title VIII of that Act is known as the Fair Housing Act.  The Act originally prohibited discrimination in selling or renting real estate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (gender) or national origin.  The Act was amended in 1988 to further prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and familial status (the presence or anticipated presence -- i.e., due to pregnancy -- of children under 18).  

Reflections of a Cohousing Elder

Renate G. Justin

The blizzard Renate G. Justin writes about in this story brought Colorado to a screeching halt for three or four days. No doubt there were many households in which cabin fever took hold. But in the state’s diverse collection of cohousing communities, deep-walled pathways to the common house turned the blizzard into a great excuse for a party. -DLW

Musings: Establishing a Healthy, Sustainable Lifestyle for an Aging Generation

Last year Americans drove 5 billion miles caring for seniors in their homes (Meals on Wheels, Whistle Stop Nurses, and so on). In our small, semi-rural county in the Sierra foothills, Telecare made 60,000 trips in massive, lumbering, polluting vans-buses – usually carrying only one senior at a time – schlepping a couple thousand seniors total over hill and dale to doctor’s appointments, to pick up medicine, or to see friends. In our cohousing community of 21 seniors, I have never seen a single Telecare bus in the driveway. In cohousing it happens organically by caring neighbors: “Can I catch a ride with you?”; “Are you headed to the drug store?”, etc. And this alternative is much more fun and inexpensive for all involved, and much less damaging to the environment. Wolf Creek Lodge, a new senior cohousing community about to start construction, has 30 units to be built on 1 acre within walking distance of downtown Grass Valley, population 12,000.

A Family Story and a Blessing Way

Raising a Family in Cohousing, Part 1

Cohousing is often touted as ideal for families. As a mom in a developing community, I thought it would be good to capture how cohousing shapes our family and how family shapes this community.

Let's begin at the beginning. My name is Tiffany and I moved to Portland, Oregon, at the start of 2006. I lived in Seattle and my husband-to-be lived in Portland. Since my family lives in Oregon and my husband loves Portland like a friend, I made the move here.

The first thing we did was to find a nice place to rent to give us time to think about how and where we wanted to live. Alex, my hubby, had been following a listserv about cohousing in Portland and he told me what he knew about it. Intrigued, I agreed to go to some of the meetings that different forming groups announced on the listserv. I went to a cohousing social on my own and met the folks starting Daybreak Cohousing (then Sunrise Cohousing). I told Alex that he had to meet them too.

The Challenge of Stability: How Multigenerational Communities Respond to Ageing and Disability

Saturday 3:15 – 4:15 pm

The Challenge of Stability: How Multigenerational Communities Respond to Ageing and Disability

Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living.

Two Day Workshop: Wed, 6/24/09 – Thur, 6/25/09 (8:30 am – 5:00 pm)
register now
Price: $195, including lunch
Charles Durrett
This workshop presented by Senior Cohousing author, Charles Durrett, will help participants examine issues related to aging and aging in place, within the context of a safe and comfortable environment of inquiry and discovery and in the context of cohousing. It seeks to foster the consciousness necessary for seniors to choose among a broader set of choices and become more deterministic about their future. Participants in this experiential workshop will engage in a comprehensive exploration of the issues that surface when working with a diverse group of people who are actively grappling with aging, denial, and the growth necessary to become more self-deterministic about their own future.

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