Finding Elderly Housing Options in Charlottesville

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

October 19, 2007

The Jefferson Area Board for Aging says the older population is going to double in the next 15 years.

Friday, people from across the country gathered in Charlottesville to look at housing options for the elderly in Central Virginia.

JABA hosted a forum to look at intentional communities. They are trying to bring new ideas to the community, to plan for our aging society.

Jefferson Area Board for Aging Director Gordon Walker says, "We know the new age people are going to have different values, beliefs than the people who are old today. So how do you go about providing different housing designs to enable people to keep giving back to the community, but also meet their personal needs?"

At a forum Friday, speakers were looking at alternatives to large scale retirement communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes.

One idea is bringing intentional communities to Charlottesville. An intentional community is a group of people who chose to live together for a common purpose.

Dene Peterson lives in an elderly cohousing community. "I didn't want to end up in a nursing home. I'm singling, I don't have children, so I wanted to be sure I didn't die alone, I wanted people, a community that I belong to."

These are not meant to be substitutes for nursing homes, but they are designed with the elderly needs in mind.

Friday's forum was about bringing in new ideas to allow people to age at home.

Some people who live in these communities warn, it's not for everyone. Sometimes, you are sharing a common space with others.

JABA says the next step is for people in Charlottesville to look at the options for elderly housing, and work to move them forward.

Blue Ridge Cohousing is trying to set up a multi-generational co-housing neighborhood in Crozet. They plan to present a proposal to the Board of Supervisors November 14th.


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