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Aging together in a chosen community

By Cathryn Wellner / November 11, 2015
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The Sooke Marine Boardwalk is one of the many amenities within walking distance of Harbourside Senior Cohousing; photo by Ruth Hartnup, via Flickr Creative Commons

As Boomers edge into their retirement years, many are contemplating an old idea: cohousing. Some are veterans of communal living experiments in the sixties and beyond. Others just prefer to age in good company, with more control than they might have in independent-living complexes.

I’ve written about the Baba Yaga House in France and the ElderSpirit complex in Virginia. One of the newer entries in the senior cohousing field is Harbourside, in Sooke, British Columbia. A group of friends in the Vancouver Island community decided they wanted to grow old together. Months of pot lucks and lively conversations helped them arrive at a plan for a senior cohousing project.

One of them had a 2-acre, waterfront lot a short walk from all of Sooke’s amenities. The lodge on it became the group’s common house, with space for guest quarters and possibly a caretaker’s unit in future. Architectural drawings show gardens, walkways, apartments and duplexes. The members’ bios sound like the kind of people who make up our lively group of friends here in Kelowna, B.C. And the setting is gorgeous.

We sometimes talk about the advantages of intentional community as we age. The Sooke friends have gone beyond talking. Their site is still under construction and will be another model for healthy aging in place.

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