Aging in Community: Inside the Senior Cohousing Movement

For seniors who want to age in a supportive community environment, cohousing is an exciting alternative to traditional options such as retirement homes and assisted living centers. In senior cohousing spaces, rather than relying on administrators, people rely on each other to lend a hand when needed and provide much-needed social engagement….

It turns out that a lot of help that older people really need is neighborly help rather than skilled care, per se. Some communities have assigned one or two coordinators, one of the other neighbors, for each person. So, if I go into the hospital, my coordinator would work with the other folks in the community to help me meet whatever needs I have.

Aging in Community: Inside the Senior Cohousing Movement

In the loop

“Keep me in the loop.”

This all too common expression is – or should be – the bane of anyone trying to implement, or just use, a community approach of working out loud for collaboration and communication. What it really means is…

I want to know what’s going on with your project, but I don’t care enough to actually spend my own time keeping up with what’s going, so please take time out of your own busy schedule and figure out what information I need to know and then make sure you get it to me. I may or may not bother to read it once you’ve sent it to me.

The next time someone asks you to “keep me in the loop”, let them know where the conversation is happening and offer to grant them access. If they don’t take you up on it, then they don’t really care. If they do take you up on it, they may never join in. But they might, and their participation will be that much more valuable because they are there intentionally, not accidentally.

This goes both ways. Next time someone talks to you about a project that you are interested in, don’t ask them to keep you in the loop. Instead, ask them, “How can I join the conversation?”