In this section...

CBS Came and Filmed My Community!
by Gaya Erlandson

Living in Champlain Valley Cohousing
by Debbie Ramsdell

Embracing Elders and Living Well
by Gaya Erlandson

Five Innovative Community Concepts
by Gaya Erlandson

The Abundant Community
A Review by Gaya Erlandson
Section 3 — Summer

What is living in community like? This section explores that question, focusing on people and how their lives are enhanced by the experience of community. We start with my recounting of the day “CBS Came and Filmed My Community!” (The article includes a link to the 3½-minute news segment which the network aired about our own version of the The Golden Girls. Though short, the segment does capture some of the fun we often have living at Lotus Lodge!) The article tells what the whole experience was like and the tremendous response it generated from women around the country.

A story from a resident of the Champlain Valley Cohousing Community in Vermont is followed by an updated report on Living Well Care Home Center in Bristol, Vermont. Living Well is the first continuing-care facility to successfully — and profitably — provide affordable, holistic services. At Living Well, success is measured in the improved health, happiness, and engagement of the residents; and their success has made their model one that is being carefully studied and replicated. Very inspiring! We need many more homes like this!

In the article which follows I profile five interesting and unique communities and community concepts that welcome elders and that will stretch your thinking about what is possible. I close with a book review of The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block — a short book that is a must read.

The whole community movement is about transformation — at the community level — and we can do it by building homes next to folks with whom we think we have more in common, or by connecting with existing neighbors. The benefit to all ages and stages of life is well documented. What I know is that transformation happens in conversation — new conversations about new possible futures. And it is the conversations we have in relationships that matter. We live in very transformational times, both as individuals in the second half of life and as a global community. It truly is time to act locally together, and I believe we have the tools and inspiring models with which to work.