Sustainable is possible, Dancing River EcoVillage.

I just posted on wanting to start an elder community using these cool WW2 pods, so of course I was then led to a site that could teach me how to do this. The video below is 19 minutes long, but if you care about sustainability and the idea of living on 10% of what you live on now, it’s worth every minute.

The Four C’s of Sustainability
Creativity, courage, cooperation and compassion. Living in community is a version of world peace activism.

a dozen dymaxion dwellings

As soon as I saw this, I immediately wanted to go out and buy some land and start an alternative, communal, retirement space with these buildings. If you like this idea, let me know. Read the full article in the NY Times.

round houses

On the grounds of an abandoned military base in southern New Jersey, there survives a small collection of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Deployment Units (DDUs), the innovative designer’s WWII-era effort to create an inexpensive, portable housing system.

fuller_inventions

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Ignoring government pleas to work longer.

Australians are ignoring government pleas to work longer and instead are taking early retirement when they hit their 50s, new figures show.

1012retirement_353px-300x0The government wants workers to retire at 67, but the average retirement age is closer to 59 for men and 50 for women, the Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

Last financial year, the average age at retirement for people aged 45 and over was 53.8 years.

The bureau’s latest survey on ”retirement and retirement intentions” in Australia suggests government plans to increase the retirement age to 67 may face some resistance.

According to EuroStats, in every European country except for Sweden, Denmark and Finland, at least a third of the population retire before age 55, while in these countries, a fourth of the population retires before this age. In countries like Poland and Slovakia, more than half of people retire by age 55.

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate retirement age based on what people are actually doing, rather than what governments want them to do.

 

In Denmark, more people are living to older ages with better overall functioning.

People in their 90s are in better shape today than people of a similar age were a decade ago, a study out of Denmark suggests.

Researchers at the Danish Aging Research Center at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense compared the mental and physical abilities at age 93 of Danes born in 1905 with those of a second group born in 1915 — at age 95.Despite being two years older at assessment, the 1915 group scored better on both cognitive tests and the ability to carry out basic activities such as getting out of a chair.

There were 2,262 in the 1905 group and 1,584 in the 1915 group.

“This finding suggests that more people are living to older ages with better overall functioning,” editors of the medical journal The Lancet said. “If this development continues, the future functional problems and care needs of very elderly people might be less than are anticipated.”

The researchers suspect that better diets earlier in life, education and physical activity accounted for the better performance. Eighty per cent of the current living older people are living independently in their own communities.

Age In Place: The CAPABLE Study

Innovative Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing:

The Community Aging in Place –Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) study is a client-centered home-based intervention to increase mobility, functionality, and capacity to “age in place” for low-income older adults. CAPABLE is comprised of an occupational therapist intervention, a client-centered nurse intervention and safety and access handyman services. Each service synergistically builds on the others by increasing the participants’ bio-psycho-functional capacity to function at home. This is theorized to avert costly health utilization by increasing medication management, problem-solving ability, strength, balance, nutrition, and home safety, while decreasing isolation, depression, and fall risk.

Related Story on boston.com:

Fixing up seniors’ homes to help them age in place.

The environment in which you live can be as disabling as a disease, and too often, older Americans wind up in a nursing home not because they’re super-sick but because they can’t get through their days safely at home.

Now a major research project will bring handymen, occupational therapists and nurses into the homes of 800 low-income seniors in Baltimore to test if some inexpensive fix-ups and strategies for daily living can keep them independent longer, and save millions in taxpayer dollars spent on nursing home care.

‘‘Very small changes can make a big difference,’’ said Sarah Szanton, a Johns Hopkins University associate nursing professor who leads the project. ‘‘We’re not saying, ‘What’s your blood pressure?’ We’re focusing on function: What do they want to do?’’

Losing independence is a leading fear as people age. But a recent poll shows that too few comprehend the changes in lifestyle needed to offset the chronic illnesses and gradual slowdown that hit just about everyone in the 70s, 80s and beyond.

The four-month intervention costs about $4,000 per participant, including the home modifications and specialists’ salaries. The average cost for nursing home care in the U.S. is $6,700 a month, so even a modest delay could add up fast. Szanton will track participants long term and, based on results from an earlier pilot test of 40 high-risk seniors, hopes to delay nursing home entry by up to a year in this frail population.

Silver Splitters – divorce rates are soaring among boomers.

Good article today in The Guardian noting an important trend.

Divorcing baby boomers seize the moment to go it alone

Not so much a seven-year itch as a 27- or 37-year one, the number of over-60s divorcing has risen by over a third in a decade. People born in the postwar bubble between 1946 and 1964 will be the first generation for whom living alone in old age may be the norm, with all the troubling related issues of caring, loneliness and financial security. The number of over-60s getting divorced is rising each year, with a record 15,275 in 2011. This compares with 13,554 the year before and 10,273 a decade ago. With one in five older people lacking the confidence to form new friendships and relationships, we might be looking at a future in which 4 million people could be facing loneliness and isolation.”

The Me Generation becomes the We Generation.

Here’s a great article from the Boston Globe on something I would love to do.

Introducing the retirement commune

Since buying a $230,000, 700-square-foot home at Camelot CoHousing in Berlin four years ago, DiCalogero couldn’t be lonely if she tried.Camelot is an enclave of 34 compact homes with welcoming front porches that sit clustered together in this rural town, about a half-hour drive northeast of Worcester, Massachusetts. The road and parking areas are off to the side, while pedestrian walkways wind among the houses. The development is engineered to encourage relationships with neighbors — and it seems to be working.

Passersby receive invitations to join homeowners for a glass of wine, or, for the kids on scooters, an offer of a Kool-Aid “for the road.” Those who want to can share communal dinners a couple of times a week at the complex’s common house, which also has been the site of dance classes, board game nights, and a workshop on falling safely, attended mainly by the sort of older folks who worry about breaking a hip.

The neighborhood of about 80 people, ranging in age from 80 to 8 months, is small enough that everyone knows everyone else, yet large enough to ensure privacy. That community size is by design, too, an element of co-housing since it was pioneered in Denmark in the 1960s and ’70s. Camelot, with both market-rate and affordable housing, opened in 2008 and sold its last available unit in 2012. Another co-housing development, Mosaic Commons, is just down the hill.

Few of America’s 78 million 49- to 67-year-olds have any intention of aging the way their parents have, wedded to their independence at all costs, even if it ultimately means social isolation. Baby boomers can envision all sorts of alternate living arrangements. “To [the older generation], living alone is the only measure of success, but the boomers’ comfort with interdependence means there are many options,” says Dr. Bill Thomas, an influential geriatrician and author based in New York. “Aging in community, rather than all alone, is going to make the boomers’ experience of old age different than anything that ever came before.”