"Aging Gracefully" at Rocky Hill Cohousing

[Editor's Note: David Entin plans to attend the Aging Better Together Conference and be part of conversations with current cohousers in intergenerational living sharing their experiences.]

Our intergenerational (many families with children) cohousing community of ten years, Rocky Hill Cohousing, Northampton, MA, has had an “Aging Gracefully” group of a dozen strong meeting monthly for the past two years. The group ranges from 55 to 80 in age. We enjoyed our company so much that we soon added a potluck dinner before our Friday monthly meetings. Over this time we have explored a range of issues of concern, including health care proxies, wills, dying, the state’s MOLST (Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life- Sustaining Treatment) form, local resources we might need to draw on (or create) for being able to remain at home, and ways to support each other as we age. Our group has read and discussed Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s “Why I Hope to Due at 75.” This fall we hosted a conversation on aging in community attended by people from six area cohousing communities, existing and forming.

Most significant our group has really bonded, particularly because at each meeting we “check in,” i.e., share individually what has been going on in our lives. Each of us really looks forward to the camaraderie and sharing of our meetings. The bottom line is getting to know each other deeply, coming to appreciate the remarkable diversity of life perspectives, and drawing inspiration from one another. We feel this is aging in community at its best. No one can predict their future needs, but community is making it possible to be more hopeful, creative, and generous.

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