© 2018 by Timothy Hunter

Durham Central Park Cohousing | Durham, North Carolina | durhamcohoinfo@gmail.com

Coho News

March 23, 2019

Your Dream Home Should be a Condo

The New 'Dream Home' Should be a Condo in The New York Times recently was an affirmation of our choice in condominium living at Durham Central Park Cohousing. The article exclaims, “Builders want to sell us monstrosities. That’s not what we need.” Indeed, does anyone need 10,000 square feet to live in? As family size trends smaller in this country, why are houses getting larger? As the article points out, “Larger homes use more resources, typically require longer commutes, come with more expensive utility bills, and often contribute to more sedentary lifestyles.” Larger homes are not only not sustainable, they are socially isolating, and the science is clear that social isolation is a tremendous health risk.

Enter condo living at Durham Coho. My husband and I enjoy a 1,164 sq foot condo that feels more spacious and more efficient than our previous 2,400 sq foot detached home in Old North Durham. Add in our abundant community spaces and gardens, which we all enjoy as our own, and you have the best of the best. As my good friend and neighbor Diana describes, “I have a bedroom in a mansion.”

Condo living means when we have bad weather, we can gather for a community meal or pot luck without braving the elements. It means when one of us has an injury and can’t climb stairs, we appreciate our elevator. Condo living means we can leave our doors open if we like, inviting community, or close them when we need solitude. Our condo building translates to significantly lower utility costs, with an efficient heating and cooling system that we share (that still ensures we can set our own thermostats), and a solar water heater. Our condo life means we can focus on living well without the burden of maintaining a home by ourselves.

-- Alice Alexander

November 17, 2018

Aging in Cohousing - Why is this a Good Thing?

This week I presented to a group participating in Berkshire Hathaway’s “downsizing” series, to talk about cohousing, and particularly, how cohousing can be beneficial for aging baby boomers.

 

While most cohousing in this country is intergenerational (it is after all, a great way to raise children, and many seniors prefer living among youth), senior cohousing is growing exponentially. This is a direct reflection of baby boomer’s desire to live better, and more lightly on the earth, in community with others. Senior cohousing is also driven by the time and resources that baby boomers have to contribute to create these communities.

 

So why is aging in cohousing, senior or intergenerational, a good choice for many?

 

  • Cohousing provides a sense of belonging – of caring and being cared about – which is so necessary for most of us, and for seniors in particular, since our culture tends to marginalize aging adults.

  • Cohousing provides a sense of purpose and meaning in collaboratively managing a community. While continuing care retirement communities can be a good choice for some, others resist following rules and being managed. Seniors who have raised families, achieved successful careers, and been involved in civic affairs may want to continue to take charge of their remaining years with the highest quality of life possible.

  • Cohousing allows seniors to attend to their emotional well-being, especially when their children have moved away, their partners have passed on, and friends have died.

  • Cohousing allows seniors not to be a burden to their children, especially when family members may live far away, and there are fewer children to share caring.

  • Cohousing can provide economic advantages over other retirement care. Smaller, more energy-efficient, well-designed homes translate to lower living expenses. So does sharing resources. A strong social environment may contribute to better health and lower medical costs. And cooperatively hiring outside caregivers may be far more cost efficient.

  • Cohousing allows seniors to help create their own community to meet their own needs, with other generations who appreciate their circumstances, or in senior cohousing, to live with others who share a common bond of age and experience.

  • Cohousing provides a vastly more sustainable model than many current options for retirement living, which often are socially inadequate, not health supporting, and a financial drain.

  • Cohousing provides an excellent choice for seniors to house themselves with dignity, independence, safety, mutual concern – and fun!

Durham Central Park Cohousing is not a senior cohousing community, but we find ourselves all 50 years of age and older with no children. That may change in future years, stay tuned.

-- Alice Alexander, proud member of Durham Central Park Cohousing

October 09, 2017

Cohousing article in Indy Week

We were pleased with this Sept 30 article from the Indy Week: How the Triangle Became Ground Zero in the Cohousing Movement

September 04, 2017

Grace Kim has a TED Talk about cohousing

This TED Talk, released in late July 2017, profiles how cohousing can make us happier and live longer.

“Loneliness doesn't always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, a cofounder an an urban cohousing community in Seattle, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us -- and it's often the result of the homes we live in. She shares an age-old antidote to isolation: cohousing, a way of living where people choose to share space with their neighbors, get to know them, and look after them. Rethink your home and how you live in it with this eye-opening talk.”

June 15, 2017

We enjoyed National Cohousing Open House Day 2017

We were surprised but pleased when a boat load of people arrived just as we opened our doors for the Cohousing Open House Day on April 29th. We had steady visitors for most of our four hours. Nobody was counting, but we estimate 50-60 folks came, which was great!

Showing off our Durham Cohousing elicits pride, but also a little nervousness. This is our home, but to have strangers walking around can feel “like living in a zoo,” as described by Sky Blue. So I was very appreciative of my neighbors’ commitment to opening our doors to the public. Our participation also directly feeds our growing list of folks interested in joining our community, when homes become available.

In collaboration with our sister cohousing communities in our region (6 established; 3 forming), we provided a list and a map to help visitors travel around.


Karolyn with Elderberry Cohousing described, “Many of our open house visitors expressed their appreciation for experiencing urban, suburban and rural cohousing communities to help them decide what setting they preferred. We also got a lot of questions about consensus/decision making, what it's like to live in close proximity to each other, how work/community maintenance is accomplished and how units are sold.”

Sue from Soltera shared, “Some were people trying to start communities and looking for ideas and feedback, a few were interested in maybe buying someplace in the Triangle, and a few were just people curious about co-housing. We showed the three houses that may be available--only one for certain. A good day.”
Deborah with Pacifica explained that the majority of visitors were interested in cohousing generally or in forming groups, rather than in Pacifica specifically. “Since we have no units open in the foreseeable future, this was great!”

Durham Cohousing was pleased to host three forming groups in the area: Village Hearth, Intown Neighborhood Place, and Raleigh Cohousing. From Glenda with INP, “Many thanks to Durham Central Park for being such gracious hosts and to all of the other forming community participants for sharing your ideas and feedback. Intown Neighborhood Place connected with some who have joined us remotely on the phone for our monthly meetings, as well as some who mentioned that they came to the open house specifically to learn more about INP. Many left contact information to receive future updates about our progress. All in all, it was a well attended event that showed the growing interest in cohousing here.”

 

How did your Open House Day go?


-- Alice Alexander, Durham Cohousing (Durham NC)

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