Written by Lindy Sexton, based on an interview with Arthur Okner of Silver Sage Village in Boulder, CO
“We at Silver Sage strive to age-in-place. Given the caring support of our community, we can do so a lot longer than in many other aging care models,” says Art Okner. “Getting older is a long, fulfilling journey for most—you have a caring family, a good job, activities that you enjoy, and friends to share experiences with. These things ebb and flow in a thing we call life, and it’s hard to think of the future until one day you are there. The future belongs to those who recognize and prepare for aging.”
In his search for the optimal housing scenario Art found that, as a middle-class older adult, options are extremely limited. The current aging care model is an expensive process that promises little to no security or return on investment. Art researched a well-known Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Boulder. The CCRC requires nearly $250,000 to get in (for a small studio), then $3,000 to $7,000 per month after that (depending on type of care needed), very little of which is returned if you move out or die. “They are very choosy about who they accept financially because if you run out of money they must keep you,” describes Art. In another “non-continuous” care model, Art found out that, if you do run out of money, the facility will “place” you in a government or other such program and forget about you.
Art chose to live in Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado. He owns his home and has a secure financial plan. Art has his independence, but most importantly, he is surrounded by caring neighbors, who as a group, discuss how they can support each other as they age and become frail.
Living in senior cohousing was a no-brainer for him. “Senior cohousing is planning for your future in wholesale terms because there is no profit motive. [It] is the cheapest option in town,” says Art, “clearly the social benefits are there [common meals several times a week, for instance], but it makes sense economically too. Even if a senior cohousing resident needs regular outside care “a la carte” the costs are cheaper than institutional options. Senior cohousing should be on the short list of housing options explored by everyone at this stage in life. You can’t afford not to.”
Join the conversation! On May 19, SAGE Cohousing International will facilitate Senior Cohousing: A Roadmap to Starting a New Community, an all-day intensive on senior cohousing. Participants will have the opportunity to listen to members of Quimper Village, a new senior cohousing community being built in Port Townsend, WA, and cohousing expert Charles Durrett. This is your chance to have your questions answered and begin to envision what aging in community looks like for you.
Sign up now by clicking here.