Aging Gracefully in MultiGenerational Cohousing

[Join David Entin at the Aging Better Together Conference]

Have you noticed that folks in your cohousing community are getting older? You moved in five, or ten, or fifteen years ago and people who were about sixty are now in their seventies. Your community may have begun to wonder how you will handle aging in community. As folks get frailer, can they remain in your community? Can your community help maintain your senior citizens in their cohousing homes as they age? Are your oldest members wondering how they can still contribute and how they will be supported in community? Has your community formed an “aging in community” group or committee?

For the past two years our “Aging Gracefully” group of twelve (ages 60 – 80) strong has been meeting every month.

We live in Rocky Hill Cohousing, Northampton, Massachusetts, a multi-generational community with many young families. In fact, eight children have been born in our community since we moved in eleven years ago. We are the grandparents who often provide child care and rides for children. We sometimes even think our wisdom contributes to the community. In our monthly meetings the Aging Gracefully group has explored such topics as heath care proxies, end of life decisions, aging in place, green burials, elder services available in our area, etc. We have read and discussed together Atul Gwande’s “Being Mortal” and Ezekiel Emanuel’s “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” We have met with a gerontologist and the palliative care doctor heading our local Hospice program.

Most significant is that we have engaged in extensive personal sharing at each meeting, getting to know each other better. This sharing of our lives has created a strong sense of bond between us. We have also discussed aging with the younger members of Rocky Hill Cohousing, who are very supportive. For the past year we have begun our meetings with a potluck dinner. We are helping two of our members to attend the “Aging Better Together” national conference in Salt Lake City May 20-21. They will participate in a panel and bring back and share what they have learned in that exciting conference.

We encourage every cohousing community to form an “Aging Better in Community” group or committee and send representatives to the national conference in May. I know we have so much to learn from each other as we age together in community. I hope we will have the opportunity to meet you in Salt Lake City and share our experiences of this new, vibrant, and challenging phase of life.

Category: Aging in Community

Tags: Aging, Conference, Past events, Senior

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