For many people, growing old and aging out independently in your own home is seen as the gold standard. We have all seen the commercials of the happily retired couple who with the help of a reverse mortgage plan on living out their golden years in their own home. The Covid 19 pandemic has caused us to reevaluate this common idea about successful aging. As we became more isolated during the pandemic, the importance of community and being connected to others became very evident to me. I am retired but my husband is still working. Being alone at home during the pandemic made me experience what it would be like to be elderly and living alone without the ability to stay connected to friends and family.
I already knew that loneliness and a lack of social connection were a huge stress on an individual and this stress can translate into physical and mental illness. Being connected to a community helps to create social connections and keeps us strong. It helps us stay resilient and cope with the inevitable ups and downs of life at every stage and even more so as we get older.
What are the obstacles to staying connected as we age out in single family homes?
As we get older, it gets increasingly difficult to stay connected to our community if we are living in a single-family dwelling. We depend on a car to socialize and access friends and family. As we age and lose mobility, it becomes increasingly difficult to get out there and meet people. Our northern climate makes it hard to get around. Our health starts to fail, and we lose the ability or the motivation to get out there and stay connected. Cohousing is a way to counter these significant obstacles to healthy and resilient aging.
How can Cohousing help you to stay connected to a community?
In a senior cohousing development, everyone owns their own home. The units look like anything you would see in any other development. However, it is unique in that people who live there are there because they are interested in intentional community. There is a large common room where shared meals take place on a regular basis (once a week). The intentional community make it easy to find companionship when you want it but also affords you the level of privacy you require.
The understanding is that in the community, people take care of their neighbors: checking in on someone who is recovering from surgery, doing errands for others. The intent is that everyone knows one another, participates on various committees necessary to keep things running smoothly. It is a return to the old model of village life where people knew their neighbors and helped each other.
When is the right time to plan for the stage of my life where social connections will become difficult?
The time to prepare for our 80’s and 90’s when mobility and staying connected become an issue is in our 60’s and 70’s while we still have the energy and motivation to create the bonds of community. If you plan in the early stages of your old age you can be proactive and create the environment of reciprocity, mutual help and co-care that you want to age out in. If you wait until you are in your 80’s or in a crisis, these choices are usually made for you.
Getting in on the ground level of a cohousing community is a way of being proactive and planning for your future <old age>.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Sudbury Senior Cohousing group and their Silver Birch Village development contact us.
3 thoughts on “Senior cohousing and intentional community”
AWESOME informative article Carmen…job well done
Pauline Martel Pasierowski
On Wed., Apr. 14, 2021, 4:56 p.m. Silver Birch Village, wrote:
> cshuparski posted: ” For many people, growing old and aging out > independently in your own home is seen as the gold standard. We have all > seen the commercials of the happily retired couple who with the help of a > reverse mortgage plan on living out their golden years in ” >
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Excellent promotion one of the best I have seen yet.
Good luck to everyone.
One day soon Maybe
Garry H. Lamoureux
T (705) 969-5497
F (705) 969-5695
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Great article!! Thank you, Jocelyn