Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
"This is the only place this conversation, about aging with support in community, is happening. Right here." - Katie McCamant, CoHousing Solutions at the Aging Better Together Conference, May 2016
Indeed, the Aging Better Together Conference took the bull by the horns in addressing how cohousing can empower seniors to age successfully - and have fun in the process. The program unveiled ideas for reinventing aging through a community framework: how cohousing can empower older adults to self-organize into high-functioning communities of support; how the principles of aging in community can provide the blueprint for everyone to ask for, receive and give care; how senior-friendly cohousing can contribute to a sense of purpose that improves our health, happiness and creative productivity.
The program also provided plenty of nuts and bolts on transforming an existing community into a senior-friendly superstar, or designing a new community for the lifespan of all who will live there. As conference chair Chuck Durrett emphatically declared, the conference was “an amazing weave of inspiring, thought provoking conversations,” driven by the folks who have successfully accomplished high-functioning senior communities for themselves, and “if they can it, you can do it too.”
Plenty of variety too: “Senior vs MultiGenerational - Which Works Best for You?” provided a robust sharing of the joys and challenges of both, without an either/or. Another session profiled “Conscious Aging,” and how to bring personal wholeness to community. Partnering for affordability, cultural competency, aging gracefully, and how do get the work done (hint: senior cohousing communities can be better maintained than intergenerational!), were among other offerings.
Almost 250 folks came together in Salt Lake City from across the U.S, from those seeking communities, to those building community, to those in established communities grappling with how to support aging members. Silver Sage Village in Boulder took the prize for most members with 10 in attendance.
Focusing on aging in cohousing was a first as a conference theme for Coho/US, and will likely be part of future conference and retreats. Coho/US was fortunate to co-produce this conference with Cindy Turnquist and SageHill Cohousing, bringing an expertise on aging issues, and a passion for cohousing as part of the answer to supporting healthy, vibrant aging. The conference was made possible through sponsorship support from many of our Cohousing Professionals and Cohousing Communities - take a look at what they have to offer!
The #agingbettertogetherconf was a success. One day, cohousing won't be an underground movement but a fact of life. From the people I've met and the stories I've heard, we're well on the way. Can't wait. Thank you to the volunteers, presenters, sponsors and staff and to Coho/US and SageHill Cohousing for organizing another wonderful event. --Wonderland Hill Development Company