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Director's Message

March 2014 - Aging in Community

I have been thinking about a book Vicki Bergman gave me recently, Aging in Community edited by Janice Blanchard. It includes many stories of groups who have explored models for aging in place across the U.S., including Princeton’s Community Without Walls. I think we are going to see a lot of growth in this area over the next decade.

I find myself at the life stage where my friends are retiring and moving. We came of age talking about returning to the land and living communally, lived in dorms and then apartments together before moving into private homes. As we launch our children into the world and retire from careers, many of us seek communities of mutual support. Several of my friends envision a setting with friends nearby, having private spaces as well as community spaces that invite coming together—back to the communes! Yet we are a little more savvy about the hard work required to sustain an intentional community than we were in our youth.

Many people today dread institutional care and are determined to remain in their homes. But Blanchard points out that aging in place alone often results in everything they feared: living alone; being cared for by strangers; loss of control, independence and dignity; loneliness; boredom! Our American ideal of being independent and individualistic actually contradicts true human nature, that we are very social beings.

Boomers know that we may have 30 years of healthy active living before we need care. We are not attracted to existing models of senior living communities. But the realities are that families live at a distance and many people live alone. Fewer people are involved in faith communities, retiring means leaving work relationships, and suburbanites often talk about feeling disconnected from neighbors. Connection with others is a basic human desire, and historically a survival necessity. So we may have to create our communities.

Blanchard proposes that aging in community presents a third way, neither institutionalization nor aging in place alone at home. A “community is a small group of people who voluntarily choose to rely on each other and to be relied upon over an extended period of time.” She defines the qualities of aging in community as: inclusive, sustainable, healthy, accessible, interdependent, and engaged. Participants “focus on building vital communities that engage people of all ages and abilities in a shared, ongoing effort to advance the common good” (pp. 10-11). In a later chapter, Janet Stambolian and Janice Blanchard suggest that these aging in place principles reflect the Woodstock Nation values (communitarian, egalitarian, environment, integration of mind-body-spirit, and social activism). Most of these communities are small, encouraging social connection, the bedrock of new friendships later in life.

The book illustrates how many different models there can be for aging in community. We foster community building at PSRC. Community Without Walls brings people together in groups for social interaction and peer support among members who live in their own homes throughout greater Princeton. Copperwood is being built in Princeton as an age-restricted rental community, with many of the features that can nurture community if the residents engage in that potential. Some neighborhoods are support communities. The Village model is another example that adds in-home services to community activities. In cohousing, residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own new intentional neighborhoods. Some are urban, rural or suburban. Some are intergenerational, some are age-related.

I think there are issues that have to be addressed for these communities to succeed. Foremost is how to manage when people begin to need a higher level of care than the community can provide. Another is defining the “glue” that keeps the community together; the shared belief, values, interests. Will residents dedicate the effort it takes to nurture the community? Is it accessible to people of lesser means, or even the solution if more care is peer-provided? Is paid staff needed? Are there lessons from these examples that can improve the mutual support potential of our existing residential communities and neighborhoods?

Where are your communities? How do you contribute to inter-dependence?

I will be watching these communities in the coming years to see how they evolve. Not only am I thinking ahead for myself, but also seeking ways that these trends present opportunities for PSRC. Housing is probably yet another area where Boomers will create new options never previously imagined.

Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW, Executive Director

Previous Messages

October 2017: HomeFriends Celebrates 30 Years!

September 2017: Annual Report

July/August 2017: Preferred Caregivers: Daughters

June 2017: Cues & Clues

May 2017: Recharging

April 2017: GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

March 2017: Multi-generational Households

February 2017: No One Ages Well Alone

January 2017: Help at Home

December 2016: Gratitude

November 2016: Family Caregiving

October 2016: Annual Report

September 2016: Corporate Healthcare

July/ August 2016: Strategic Planning

June 2016: Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Part 2 : We Need Your Help

May 2016 Part 1: Going Solo

April 2016: Volunteering

March 2016: Partners In Caring

February 2016: PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016: Hope

December 2015: Gratitude

November 2015: Helicopter Children

October 2015: Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015: Annual Report

July & August 2015: Family and Community

June 2015: A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015: Is 60 the New 40

April 2015: Spring

March 2015: On Being Mortal

February 2015: Mentoring

January 2015: Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014: Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America


March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009


Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003

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