Silver Birch Village is a senior cohousing development where the intent is to age out together. Many people ask: “what happens when everybody gets old at the same time and has needs to be met?” There are three variables that come into play.
The first variable is co-care. The word care immediately suggests health care, professionals who offer a spectrum of services from personal care to surgeries. This is not co-care. Co-care is an intentional process that develops as relationships develop. The people at Silver Birch Village will all be of different ages and at various stages of the aging process. As we grow old together, we offer to water a neighbor’s plants, check on their home when they are away or pick up a prescription. We share meals on a regular basis and get to know each other. We commit to one another and the relationship grows. If you know that your neighbor has recently had surgery, you check-in to see if they need anything, you bring over a meal so they can get proper nutrition and recover promptly. We won’t all age in the same way or at the degree and will have various abilities and talents that we will share.
The second variable comes into play once those needs go beyond what we can do for each other. We would find professionals to fulfill those needs as we would if we were living in an apartment or a single-family dwelling. Outside caregivers come into your home just as they would in the community. If needed, as a group, we could pool our resources and hire a caregiver.
The third variable comes into play in when planning Silver Birch Village. Accessibility and universal design will be incorporated into each unit so that as we require mobility aids, we can still access bathrooms and other areas in our homes.
Certainly, there will be some people whose needs will necessitate a move to long term care. However, living in an active and connected cohousing community will promote healthy aging. This will help us avoid the costly retirement home option. At Silver Birch Village our community will face the realities of growing older and aging in place together.