2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER

2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER
The Creative Landscape of Aging Wins a NMMA Award!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Age Communities: Part 2

The focus on aging should be less about the body and more about its place in a community. That’s the premise of Philip Stafford’s book Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in America. It offers scholarship, research and basic advice on aging and environment and addresses the movement towards elder friendly communities. It addresses the value of memory and meaning in one’s own space.

So for those who want to age at home and engage in a community experience, there is a wave of options. Many communities are variations of NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities) but there are also niche new age communities available.

Elderspirit Cohousing,http://www.elderspirit.net
Rooted in the spiritual path for people of different religious beliefs, its foundation is based on providing mutual respect, support and service to each other and the community as a whole. A cohousing neighborhood is currently being planned in Abingdon, Virginia.

Burbank Senior Artist Colony, http://www.seniorartistscolony.com
Are you an artist who wants to continue your creative spirit with like minded peers? This is a unique apartment rental community for seniors that provides opportunities to engage in visual arts, theater and writing. There is plenty of entertainment and socialization to keep you in the swing.

Senior Housing Solutions. http://www.srhousingsolutions.org
Affordable housing for seniors is available in California for those with restricted incomes. Rent is a fraction of a person’s social security benefits so the financial stress is lifted and the comprehensive health, safety, socialization and support services can be enjoyed.

Since there are a growing number of older adults who want to remain in their homes and communities, these communities will face an opportunity and a challenge. Independent seniors can represent civic, social and financial assets and often will volunteer to support important causes. However these communities will also need to take the responsibility of supporting less able bodied elders who may have health care, transportation and other needs. Understanding the impact of this socioeconomic situation, The AdvantAge Initiative (http://www.vnsny.org) helps counties, cities and towns prepare for the increasing number of older adults who wish to age in place.

Want to start your own community? Gayatri Erlandson, PhD is a consultant on cohousing and offers this advice:“
If you are planning to start a community, regardless of its eventual size, I highly recommend starting with a very small group of people — those with very similar needs, values, goals, and thus vision for a community. In the beginning, it is very important to be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Instead of having a larger group who try over potlucks to hash out the particulars for years (seven on average!), start with just 2-3 people, maybe even just yourself!

Think big, act small, build a community.

Eleanor Roosevelt: “Friends, you and me... you brought another friend... and then there were three... we started our group... our circle of friends... and like that circle... there is no beginning or end.”


  1. great meeting you at Bellingham last week - and I cant tell you how many people I have run into recently that have referenced Elderburbia . . . I need to go to the bookstore this afternoon!

    Another cool project to reference is Hope Meadows, take a look: http://www.generationsofhope.org/hm_main.html