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Senior Sisterhood

New Options for Independent Co-Housing

For 20 years, Maria Brenton, an outspoken proponent of older people living independently, has been campaigning and planning for the opening of a different kind of retirement home run by its residents, supporting each other through old age. She says, “Attitudes to older people in this country are out of date. Most members of the older population don’t wish to have everything done for them.”

She attests that institutions and agencies dealing with older people encourage dependency and are patronizing and paternalistic. “Older people internalize it, and they learn to wait for people to do things for them,” advises Brenton.

New Ground, in Barnet, North London, is the first UK cohousing development set up just for older women, with 26 women from age 50 to 87. Also in London, The Collective has created something similar with enhanced amenities such as a cinema room and a launderette with a disco ball. WeWork is an American company that has set up communal offices, and recently established WeLive, in New York City.

This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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