Getting older : a time for difficult questions

In some ways, watching someone you love grow old is a difficult experience.  However, it can also be an opportunity to draw upon their wisdom and learn from their journey and the choices they have made. 

I grew up in a typical French-Canadian family.  My parents fulfilled the traditional roles of that time, my father was the bread winner who worked hard at many jobs at the same time to provide for his family.  My mother worked just as hard keeping house, gardening, preserving food from that garden, sewing our clothes, and providing a loving home for her 7 children. 

As my parents grew older, they came to depend more and more on their children.  My father owned enough land that he was able to have some of his children build homes nearby.  My brothers and sisters are close enough to help with the garden, bring over a meal when necessary. Their proximity makes it easier to drop in and provide those important social connections.  Now that my mother is alone, this physical proximity has become even more important.  I have a brother who is mentally handicapped and still living at home with my elderly mother.  The love and support of my brothers and sisters who are physically close by has allowed them both to continue living at home and be independent.  The emotional currency that my mother invested for all those years has paid off.  She is still retaining her independence, physically active daily and emotionally connected to a community. 

I look at this positive model and realize that my situation is different.  I have three children not seven.  All three of my children have grown into happy and successful lives which I am extremely proud of.  The downside to this is that their lives are not in Sudbury.  As we get older, we will inevitably require support.  Do we pull up roots and begin a new life closer to our children or do we change our living circumstances so that we will have those supports as we grow older? 

Many of us are pondering these questions.  The book “From Age-ing to Sage-ing” by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi explores extended longevity and the call for new models of aging.  A model that challenges personal diminishment and disengagement from life as a given as we grow older.  This challenges us to “transform our conventional aging script and make our journey more triumphant”.  (page 13)

The cohousing movement gives us the opportunity to do just that.  To rewrite the old script where services are provided for a fee instead of providing for ourselves and where we are isolated and cut off from our community. To write a script where I age out at Silver Birch Village where the atmosphere will foster engaging in a community, physical activity and retaining my independence for as long as possible.

If you are interested in learning more about Silver Birch Village, join us for a 1 hour information session on June 2nd at 11:00 am or 7:00 pm, by contacting   

One thought on “Getting older : a time for difficult questions”

  1. WOW Carmen, I have to tell you, this article really tugged at my heartstrings and encouraged me to stop and ask myself those hard questions. It also reaffirms the reason the cohousing concept is so compelling to me. Thank you for sharing…

    Pauline Martel Pasierowski

    On Thu., May 20, 2021, 3:02 p.m. Silver Birch Village, wrote:

    > cshuparski posted: ” In some ways, watching someone you love grow old is a > difficult experience. However, it can also be an opportunity to draw upon > their wisdom and learn from their journey and the choices they have made. > I grew up in a typical French-Can” >


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