When Common Ground Visited Elderspirit
From Alice W., Spring 2017: Our visit to Elderspirit Community was very encouraging, for several reasons. I was pleased to see how pleasant the residential units were, given the need to keep the materials in a modest price range. The living spaces we saw were much more pleasant and agreeable than I expected. Since residents are able to have their individual garden spaces, if they wish, the community had a visual vibrancy that is missing in many residential communities where a management team dictates the landscape, at least in the front yards. I'm a fan of front porches and sidewalks to encourage interaction between neighbors and every unit had those simple, but effective, amenities. I was also pleased to learn that sound proofing can work!
I was impressed with Dene's examples of the effectiveness of the consensus process for problem solving within the community. My take away is that the initial vetting process in which potential members learn about the community as the community learns about the likelihood that individuals will fit into the community is very helpful in establishing expectations that the members need to be able to compromise.
The thoroughness of the initiators made a solid foundation for this community. Their willingness to be open to people with different beliefs, to engage in the highly detail and complex design details of how the community can work and involve its members and how the physical facilities can support that involvement is a major factor in the success of Elderspirit. As one of the first senior co-housing communities, they had to spend many hours thinking through processes and solving all sorts of challenges with how the community would work and getting the physical facilities developed... While our community will be a unique creation designed to meet the needs of this group of people, we can and should benefit from the experience of others.