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.”


3 thoughts on “The Me Generation becomes the We Generation.

  1. l1brarygrl says:

    I’ve read of communities like this and think it’s a wonderful option. I would love to see this take off in the US. The communities I’ve read about were in Europe. I can’t overstate how important a sense of community and social interaction is for people of all ages, and how it saddens me to have seen this country abandon essential human connection. Keep writing and posting about these issues. Good job!

    • Rachael says:

      It’s interesting how in the US we have lots of “retirement” communities but most people are not happy in them. Rather than being communities (in the true sense of the word), they are simply isolation cells for people with physical disabilities and low social status. Thanks for your comment and follow.

      • l1brarygrl says:

        You’re welcome. I attend a writers’ group in one such retirement community and a sadder, bitter group of people I’ve yet to find elsewhere. The gorgeous, expensively decorated interiors can’t hide it.

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