Co-housing solution for seniors in Smithers

On 2nd April, at 7. 30 p.m. at the Della Herman Theatre, we welcome North America’s foremost expert on co-housing, Charles Durrett.

On 2nd April, at 7. 30 p.m. at the Della Herman Theatre, we welcome North America’s foremost expert on co-housing, Charles Durrett.

Durrett introduced the co-housing concept, a Danish invention, to the English-speaking world and penned three books on the subject.

He received a World Habitat award from the United Nations and, as an architect, has designed or collaborated on more than 50 co-housing projects.

Senior co-housing is not a bunch of retirees napping on the porch in their armchairs.

Senior co-housing is for active seniors who wish to take care of their own destinies and age in a mutually supporting community; essentially, people joining together with the intention of being good neighbours.

The concept centres on a combination of shared common facilities and self-contained, individual homes.

The shared facilities are mostly contained in a common house, but includes gardens, workshop, meditation space, greenhouse etc.

The indoor facilities usually include a commercial kitchen, large dining room and lounge, art space, laundry, gym and guest accommodation, in fact anything the group desires.

This allows individual homes to be smaller and therefore more affordable, more energy efficient and easier to maintain.

The idea is to create a warm, friendly neighbourhood where residents similar in age and life experience can inspire each other to live active, fulfilling lives and help each other through the minor challenges of getting older.

Seniors tend to concentrate on the financial needs of retirement, but what about our emotional well being?

The current lifestyle of elders seems to be a progression of escalating isolation as friends die or move away and increasing frailties restrict movement outside of the home.

A downward spiral begins and eventually pushes many elders to the dreaded fate of the nursing home.

Senior co-housing can stop that spiral.

Research has shown that one of three key determinants of seniors’ health and longevity is staying socially connected.

The other two are exercise (low impact) and eating properly.

Senior co-housing creates an environment where all three can flourish, from breaking bread together in the common dining room, to a yoga class in the common gym and generally through the joy of good companionship.

If we want to live out the gift of our so called “golden years” to the fullest we must be proactive and plan ahead.

Find out about the senior co-housing option by attending Durrett’s slide show.

There will be a question period afterwards, nibbles and a chance to mingle.

Come learn what a local group, the BV Senior Co-housing Working Group is doing to bring senior co-housing to Valley residents.

The presentation is funded by an Agefriendly BC grant from the UBCM to the Town of Smithers, in collaboration with the Driftwood Foundation.

Mel Coulson

BV Senior Co-housing Working Group