Baby Boomer Retirement – Is Senior Cohousing a Good Option?

The Baby Boomer generation, 73 million strong, are entering the 65+ age group at a rate of 10,000 per day in the United States. By the year 2030, all Baby Boomers will have joined the 65+ club placing a lot of stress on the senior housing industry. So what does senior housing of the future look like and what changes are coming to accommodate the rapidly growing need? A 30 minute podcast episode isn’t nearly enough time to tackle that question entirely, but today we are going to talk about a lesser known option called Cohousing. Cohousing communities bring together the value of private homes and the advantages of shared public space.  Is senior Cohousing a good option?

My guest on this episode is Gail Bagley. A retiree living in Lakeland, FL Gail has dreamed of living in a cooperative, communal-type arrangement for decades and is the founding member of Friends and Neighbors Cohousing LLC, a cohousing community in the planning stages in Lakeland, FL.

Here is what we talked about:

  • What is cohousing? Description and brief history
  • Why is senior cohousing relevant now?
  • What cohousing is not
  • Why Senior Cohousing/Who is a good candidate 
  • The process: how is a cohousing community created?  
  • Examples of existing senior cohousing communities 
  • Benefits of senior cohousing (to the individual and to the wider community)
  • Where to get more info and learn about cohousing in my area

about Gail bagley

“I am a senior citizen!  Also a Florida resident since 1970 (before Disney World opened😉); Lakeland resident since 2002.  34 year career in high tech industrial distribution management, followed by 10 years in marketing, education and consulting for local organizations serving seniors.
I have dreamed of living in a cooperative, communal-type arrangement for decades. I am the founding member Friends and Neighbors Cohousing LLC, president of non-profit SAGE Senior Coho Advocates, Executive board member of non-profit Rath Senior ConNEXTions.  Also involved in the SAGEing Wisdom Circle in Winter Haven.”

Resources & Links

Read the full transcript here

Closed Captioning

Sage Aging Episode 9

Gail Bagley

Recorded 5/22/2020

 

Liz Craven

Support for this episode of Sage Aging comes from Polk ElderCare Guide designed with families in mind. Polk Elder Care Guide gives you the tools and education necessary to make quality choices about senior care and living options in Polk County, Florida. available in both English and Spanish. You can view the guides and much more online at polkeldercare.com.

 

Are you a baby boomer whose kids are grown leaving you with more house than you need? Have you been thinking lately that it may be time to right size your living situation? Would you love to design your neighborhood to be exactly what you want it to be? If you’re a baby boomer exploring housing options, then this podcast episode is for you.

 

Hi, I’m Liz Craven, and like so many others, I’ve faced the overwhelming task of being a caregiver for people that I hold dear. I understand how tough the day to day of a caregiver can be, and how hard it is to come by good information. Here’s one thing I know for sure. Education is key. Equipped with the right tools and good information caregivers will experience less stress and find better balance of day to day life. For the past two decades, I’ve built my career on connecting older adults and those who care for them to the education and resources they need to navigate the aging journey. This show is dedicated to the same. Welcome to the sage aging podcast. Hit subscribe now, and let’s get started.

 

Hello, and welcome to episode nine of the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. The baby boomer generation, 73 million strong is entering the 65 plus age group at a rate of 10,000 per day in the United States. By the year 2030, all baby boomers will have joined the 65 plus club placing a lot of stress on the senior housing industry. So what does senior housing of the future look like? What changes are coming to accommodate the rapidly growing need? A 30 minute podcast episode isn’t nearly enough time to tackle that question entirely. But today we’re going to talk about a lesser known option called cohousing. Cohousing communities bring together the value of private homes and the advantages of shared public space. My guest today is Gail Bagley. A retiree living in Lakeland, Florida, Gail has dreamed of living in a cooperative communal type arrangement for decades, and she’s the founding member of friends and neighbors cohousing, LLC. To learn more about Gail and all the great things she’s involved in. Be sure to check the link section of the show notes for this episode, which you can find on the blog post for episode nine at Sage aging.us. Hi, Gail, welcome to the show and thanks for joining me.

 

Gail Bagley

Oh Hi Liz. This is so exciting. Thank you

 

Liz Craven

I’m so excited to have you because this is a topic that is just not widely known and I’m happy to be able to put some information out there about it and help people to get a bit educated. You know, maybe it’s something that will spark an interest.

 

Gail Bagley

That’d be wonderful. It’d be mutually beneficial to them and to all of us really, to make the world a better place.

 

Liz Craven

Absolutely. But before we get started, you know that I like to do a lightning round. So I’m going to ask you a few get to know you questions, are you good with that?

 

Gail Bagley

Oh, sure. Thank you.

 

Liz Craven

Okay, so your first question is, what is your favorite day of the week?

 

Gail Bagley

That would be Friday, because I usually try to keep Friday open as much as possible with the fewest amount of pre commitments. So then I can look at my Friday calendar and say, Wow, I have some free time here.

 

Liz Craven

Okay, second question, Dawn, or dusk,

 

Gail Bagley

Dawn, and it makes me think of money used to do a lot More camping like tent camping. Waking up to the dawn is so refreshing. Not so much when you live in a house, but when you’re camping. Dawn is awesome.

 

Liz Craven

The early bird gets the worm. Okay, now here’s a good one. cake or pie.

 

Gail Bagley

That is a good one. Pie almost sounds like it could be healthy because you can put fruit in it. I’ll go with pie. Yeah, I’ve got you got your applesand cherries. It’s It’s good.

 

Liz Craven

I think my favorite pie is probably Apple, but I don’t leave it so healthy. I like to drizzle some caramel on top as well.

 

Gail Bagley

Don’t even talk about that.

 

Liz Craven

Okay, last question, because we have to work off the pie that we’ve just eaten. On a scale of one to 10 right, your dancing moves.

 

Gail Bagley

Alright, this is embarrassing. Dancing moves, I would get myself on a scale of one to 10, 10 for enthusiasm and two for ability. So you have to win. envision that yourself.

 

Liz Craven

That’s probably about 90% of people for real. But I think as long as you’re feeling it, and you’re you’ve got your groove, you’re good to go.

 

Gail Bagley

Oh, yeah, in my head. It is what it is. That’s right. Thanks for asking.

 

Liz Craven

Of course. Well, thank you for playing with me. I really enjoy that. I think that’s probably my favorite part of the show because it kind of releases some of that personality. It’s hard to see that through audio, and I think it gives people an opportunity to feel who we are a little bit.

 

Gail Bagley

That’s great.

 

Liz Craven

All right. So on to our topic, co housing. I have to be honest that before you brought this topic to my attention a few years ago, I had never heard of cohousing. Can you kind of give us a brief definition of what it is and where it came from?

 

Gail Bagley

I’m so glad that you asked that early on because when people hear the word co-housing I can almost see the gears in their head. Making up their own definition so that whatever if they’re asking me what cohousing is, and I’m telling them they’ve already decided that it looks like something that they’ve pre conceived. So cohousing communities are collaborative. They’re neighborhoods that are collaborative, and they combine private homes with extensive common areas. They create a very strong and successful housing development. Most cohousing communities are organized legally as townhouse or condominium developments with a homeowner’s association. What their intent is, is to create cultivate a strong sense of community through the extensive common facilities and active collaboration of the residents. They’re the ones that create it and they’re in charge. That’s co housing. It’s private homes with extensive common facilities developed by the residents.

 

Liz Craven

That’s pretty incredible. I love the part that it’s created by the rest accidents that kind of gives you the opportunity as a group to make a community exactly what you want it to be.

 

Gail Bagley

Exactly.

 

Liz Craven

So where did this cohousing begin? Is that something that’s new, or have we seen it in other places, and people just aren’t aware of it.

 

Gail Bagley

If you want to just look at the recent history of cohousing, Charles Durrett and his wife Katie McCamant, back in the 70s, their education at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. They studied architecture. and they observed while they were walking to and from their apartment to their classes, that Denmark had been creating subsidized housing, meaning large boxes for people families to live in. And they weren’t much to brag about. They were technically homes in boxes. But one day Chuck was walking to class. Well, actually, everyday when we just walk into class here, there was one particular building that had access People were living doing their activities, family activities between the buildings. So he stopped and asked, you know, what is different about your building here and they said, We don’t like these warehouses that they’ve created for people to live. So we’ve added our own activities, and we call it and they use this word in Danish that he said last like cohousing. So when Chuck and Katie came back home to the US, which was in California, they said, let’s try building something like that because now we have the architectural education and we’ve seen something that we really like to model, so they built the first cohousing community designed it, it was called it is still in existence called Muir Commons after john Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, or New York Commons in California. And, you know, you can imagine that since 19, I’ll just say 19. By the time they probably finished it, it was about 1980. Since then, they’ve developed many more, and you can imagine how much better they’ve gotten with each new Go round. But when you when you sit, is it a new concept? When you think about the way we live now, single family homes, that’s really the new concept. And it’s not really working for a lot of people because we’ve got this isolation people that don’t know their neighbors. They have homes with garages in the front and garage door openers, and they open the garage door, they disappear inside and they close the garage door behind them. And they that’s a new, not so successful model of housing, go back and think of ancient cultures where they depended on each other for survival and building their families and their communities. So, you know, Native Americans and ancient Egyptians and all these ancient cultures that that was normal. And then we created this thing called single family homes in suburbia. And, Wow, that’s really different. So it’s old and it’s new. It’s trying to fix a problem that we’ve created in single family homes and making a good old fashioned neighborhood.

 

Liz Craven

So why is senior cohousing relevant now? What do you see that is changing that might spark interest in this type of living?

 

Gail Bagley

Do you mind if I sort of answer the why senior cohousing? Katie and Chuck when they first developed the first cohousing community was multi generational, and it proved to be a wonderful way to raise children in a very healthy, you know, takes a village environment. And so senior cohousing is sort of a new spin off from that. So why not create a cohousing community? it’s geared for seniors. You could get a lot of feedback on that. That would be like I don’t want to live around a bunch of old people. Well, I don’t either so senior housing. Senior cohousing fills a niche for I’ll just say healthy, educated, proactive adults who want to live in a socially and environmentally vibrant community. It’s not geared for people who really their next step is into assisted living. For me, the time is right now I’m able to do something about I’m able to help create it. It’s a very cooperative environment. It’s not created by a developer. It’s created by the people. So that’s why it takes people that are able to contribute. But it allows seniors to have a community that favors our needs the things that when I turned 60, I know it’s hard to believe I’m 60, I’m way over 60 now, but when I when I turned 60, I had almost like a light went off and I said, I need to start doing things differently. Because the rest of my life will depend on how I do things. Now how I take care of myself, how I plan for that. That’s when I learned about cohousing and I thought I don’t have to invent this. This has already been done thanks to Katie McCamant and Chuck Durette. So I started reading the books but cohousing geared for seniors enables people that are my age to now focus. I don’t have kids and grandchildren but people that do may feel like Well, I’ve already done that, you know, I don’t really don’t want to be around help raising other people’s young children. At this point. I’d really like to focus on me. Children are very welcome in a senior cohousing community, it’s child friendly, but you can focus when you have meetings. For example, you’re not always talking about the playground, you’re talking about your yoga classes, Friday night’s, wine hour, or two or three hours, whatever it is, but you can focus on the things that you want to do as an adult, and do them the way that you always wanted to do them. Having a smaller I call it a right sized home or you can say downsized home, can help reduce maintenance and overhead costs. A lot of us raised our families in a single family home, the children moved out and now we’re still in our single family home. Do we really need that? And do we really want to live in all this space that we had when we were raising the children, so that’s part of why they’re senior cohousing and it’s a small, newer niche, and it’s being very, very successful. But you asked about its relevance now. And two things that I think of when you asked that question is, baby boomers are different and I think a lot of our listeners who are baby boomers will agree that we don’t really want to do things the way that our parents did things in terms of retirement. I watched a lot of my parents’ aged people dream about, well, they first of all, they had a career that lasted their entire adult working career. They stayed in one company, they had all the benefits. They raised their family with the main breadwinner, the dad, they got a gold watch. And they retired and started playing golf and moved to Florida. And that was the dream of a lot of people that were my parents age, baby boomers, not so much looking for a different new way to live life more fully and more independently. So that’s one reason why this is relevant now. But Wow, this pandemic, has really done a job on how we look at ourselves and how we look at our communities. And you know, and I know how dangerous isolation is for people as they get older. Yes, the pandemic has really made us look around to see how much we need each other, especially we can’t get to each other don’t have the luxury the things that we counted on we took for granted as I happen to have a very close relationship with my neighbors and the pandemic has really sealed it. We have cocktail hour in my car port, six feet of separation. And I love every Friday afternoon-evening, but we really are bonding and in between those Fridays, you know, we’re out in the street talking to each other, we’re sharing things. So the pandemic is another reason why it’s looking like things will be different in the future, we will be much more tuned into the need for community.

 

Liz Craven

Well, and I think that people are recognizing also that it really is up to us. We have to be the architect of our future. We can’t just rely on what’s there because frankly, what is in place now has to change. Not that it has to go away, but there’s simply no way to accommodate that quote unquote, gray tsunami that’s coming in our direction. And so looking at different ways of doing things is going to have to be a part of the equation. And I think this is a great way for people who, like you said, still are independent and want to design their lifestyle in such a way that it fits exactly what they want and need. It’s a great option.

 

Gail Bagley

Yeah, that’s a good point. Liz. That’s so true.

 

Liz Craven

How does that process happen? Because I went online to see, where does cohousing currently exist for seniors and I found not really that much. I found the bulk of it in California, which makes sense after you explained how it came to the States, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, but not really super relevant everywhere else. Is that a lack of information or is it just that people haven’t decided to under take that responsibility to create one in their area.

 

Gail Bagley

So one of the things I’m involved in, it’s called the Sage Senior Cohousing Advocates Board, which Charles Durrett is on, and some of the people that are on this board live in California. One of my friends on the board lives in Pasadena, California. And she she said you don’t understand why that’s not already there. But in some areas I think people are just used to their single family homes and they don’t want to rock the boat. There, in Florida, is one cohousing community in Gainesville and it’s multi generational, technically. I met these people at a cohousing conference last year and they’re all my age, but they call it multi generational when you’re trying to attract growing families.

 

Liz Craven

That’s interesting.

 

Gail Bagley

Yeah, there could be an affordability thing. It’s It’s not easy for people that are raising young children to gather the resources to build a new home in a cohousing community. Some of them are retrofitted from, you know, trying to make it more affordable. Downtown, I don’t know, like a warehouse or something like that and converted to urban cohousing but most of them are built new construction. But your question was how was it created, I think. Right?

 

Liz Craven

Yeah, well, what’s the process in creating a cohousing community, a brief overview start to finish. How does one get started?

 

Gail Bagley

So all of them are created, starting with it’s now called a “burning soul”. Somebody like me that says, wouldn’t it be great if we can do this? It takes patience and persistence, and a sense of, I think organization and attracting people with different kinds of talents to bring in. So I’m the burning soul. There’s the educating the community, then you grow membership and you create a membership process. You get people on board, they pay a membership fee and then they start learning about what cohousing is. They start learning about what it’s going to take to get to the place. They’re going to be actually living in a home in the community. So it involves things that we’ve already done here which is setting up a legal entity which is Friends and Neighbors Cohousing LLC, getting a bank account hiring an attorney starting to get your professional team on board looking at interviewing architects and builders and the kind of team that you need to do all the professional aspects of it. You definitely as a group need to continually learn and develop a governance process. You create a governance process where when you have a meeting together to talk about the business of your community, most of the time, it’s a consensus type of a result where you want everybody to be happy with the result, you build a lot of trust, before anything is ever built, maybe even before you have the property cleared. Your people are already a community. They’re now studying how this governance process works. Because once you get in the community, you don’t have time for learning that maybe you weren’t really suitable for this. So then you have design workshops, got your architect on board, your builder on board, you build, and then you live the dream. And I would say the very successful ones that hired the necessary consultants and had their governance building early on, take about two full years before they say let’s do this. And they they move in about two years, two or three years.

 

Liz Craven

Wow. So how is your project going?

 

Gail Bagley

Well, I learned from my mistakes. I think it was about 2014, I said, Wow, I need to actually do something about this. That’s when I started reading and studying and visiting and going to the conferences and meeting other people doing presentations and trying to get interest in that. But I had developed a membership process that was ineffective. Where I’m aiming now is to attract people that are actually willing and able to invest in this in all the ways you can imagine invest emotionally invest time wise, and eventually Invest in the building of the community. So, right now, right now with social isolation, it’s not a very good time to be meeting with people. For about a year, we had monthly coffees over at Hillcrest coffee shop. And a lot of people were interested. And I found a lot of people interested but unable. Does that make sense?

 

Liz Craven

Absolutely. It does.

 

Gail Bagley

I see this as being, I’ll just say urban. You and I sort of live in the same part of town. Where, Wow, I love living here. I love being able to walk around Florida Southern College, I love being able to be very close to the museum and the library. I envision a community near downtown that you can easily walk, think about Age Friendly Lakeland, and being able to get around the pillars, right the domains, all those things need to equal senior cohousing you need to be able to walk around feeling Safe feel like you belong. And that’s where we are right now. We’re sort of in a stall period because of social distancing. But we’re ready to resume the membership drive and get back out there and start looking at property.

 

Liz Craven

Well, that’s really exciting and you’re right that cohousing really does follow the patterns of Age Friendly communities and for the sake of the audience who may not know what that means. Age Friendly communities is a project of the World Health Organization, and AARP, where they place focus on the eight domains of livability in making a community Age Friendly. I’ll put some information in the links for the show notes for you. And I’ve actually got an episode about Age Friendly communities planned coming up not too far down the road. So be on the lookout for that, but it’s an amazing program. And this really does apply the same principles about having an Age Friendly community. What are some good examples that you found of the type of community that you’ve seen in senior cohousing?

 

Gail Bagley

Good question. The first senior cohousing community that I ever saw was in North Carolina, and it’s called elderberry. And it was under construction. It was out in the middle of nowhere. And I thought, how can this work because this is really the middle of nowhere. I don’t think my cell phone worked. And the woman who showed me around first took me into her home, which there were like two storey duplexes. She said, This is my mother. Her mother was in a lovely little reading area. She said My mom is 100 and she’s very happy here and I thought, wow, what happens when mom needs medical care? Maybe emergency. So I’m telling you that story because that was what I would consider rural senior cohousing and then I visited in Port Townsend, Washington up near the Puget Sound area. There is A very new, I would say state of the art senior cohousing community and I been there studied it, and it’s called Quimper Village Senior Cohousing and they did it perfectly, but they were able to find six acres. That’s a really big challenge. But they did a great job. They found six beautiful acres and they created they were single stories, and they’re very close to downtown. And they’re downtown Port Angeles is very senior friendly. So that’s a whole different look and vibe and how they did it. The quality of the buildings, the quality of the whole community. Quimper Villages like my role model well, shortly after I saw from the village and decided it was the best ever. I was able to go to a cohousing conference in Portland, Oregon last year and a brand spanking new senior cohousing community called pdx, which is the Portland airport code PDX. PDX Commons is a brand new senior cohousing community in downtown Portland, Oregon. And it was built on. I think they said three quarters of an acre. Oh, it’s three stories. The first story when you walk in is the garage level. And it’s hard to describe this but the interior was the common area. So if you went up the elevator and get up at the third floor and looked in, you would see the courtyard common area, they have parties there and you walk right in from the common area to the common house, which is integrated architectural II into the building. So these are three different very different kinds of senior cohousing communities, ones, rural ones, suburban ones, urban, they’re all very successful. They can be attached buildings, or they can be standalone buildings, a lot of people immediately I can see the gears in their head going oh tiny houses tiny houses. I’ve never been to a cohousing community, of any type multiple generational or senior that was actual tiny houses. They’re usually 900 to 1500 square feet. That’s about the average and each cohousing community has approximately 20 something residences that that might help give you a better idea of how big or small this is and what it looks like, because I do want to kind of paint a picture of what it looks like and I hope that helps a little bit.

 

Liz Craven

Absolutely. Here’s a question that pops into my head when somebody is living in cohousing. And the time comes that they need to move on to a different scenario maybe to assisted living or a situation that allows for them to have more assistance when they have trouble being on their own. What happens to their home, can they sell it or is that something that’s subject to group rules?

 

Gail Bagley

Oh, that’s a great question and most cohousing communities, whether they’re senior cohousing or multi generational cohousing communities. These are private homes that are for sale on the open market. Most of the very successful cohousing communities integrate some sort of a system where they have a waiting list people are. They’re already pre marketing. They’re already saying come to our community and look, if there’s an opening, if there’s a house for sale, you will be on a list, but you’ll already know us you will already have been to some of our meetings, some of our workdays, some of our common meals. cohousing communities optimally are neighborhoods within the greater neighborhood community within the greater community. They are friendly with their neighbors surrounding them and people in the community, get to know them and say, Wow, this is a great place to live. It’s not for everybody, but for the ones that can really contribute and appreciate it. They already know about a cohousing community, and they might already be on a waiting list to get in. Most of them are sold by the owner to another private owner, but a lot of them in the community. They’re already pre marketing them as a part of the community. But you asked a question that makes me want to get into slightly different aspect of that which is there is not a certain available for care in a cohousing community. It’s not a nursing facility. One of the things you can do in senior cohousing, the common house which is usually approximately three or 4000 square feet and integrates a beautiful custom kitchen, you know room for having yoga classes, but they also have guestrooms there. So if you live in a 1000 square foot home, you might not have room for a lot of companies so your guests can stay in the common house guest rooms. You might as a community decide to add another guest room and have down the road when you all get older. A CNA live there at a much reduced rate and that CNA can be sort of shared and help take care of a few of you and you can help take care of each other everybody you know you can imagine we all age at different rates different ways. I can help my neighbors get to doctor’s appointments and what their research on senior cohousing is finding is that seniors that live in cohousing whether it’s multi generational or senior cohousing live healthier They thrive more and they’re less likely to end up in a facility as early as other people. And when they do go into an assisted living facility, they have a lot of people visiting them, their old neighbors.

 

Liz Craven

The relationships are there. So where would somebody go to get more information and learn more about cohousing in their own area?

 

Gail Bagley

Our web addresses, cohousinglkld.com, and it’s under friends and neighbors cohousing in Lakeland. There’s a wonderful organization called cohousing us and it’s a nonprofit very successful, they help people learn all about resources for cohousing.

 

Liz Craven

Is that cohousing.org?

 

Gail Bagley

Yes. And then the other one is the one. I’m actually the president of this board and it’s called Sage Senior Cohousing Advocates, because what we’re trying to do is help people find senior cohousing if they want to move into an existing community learn how to build one and what Makes senior cohousing special and different so there’s Sage Senior Cohousing advocates also and then there are these wonderful books. There’s a brand new DVD movie called “The Best of Both Worlds”, which is a wonderful description. I was thinking about the title of this new movie the best of both worlds. Because the best of both worlds in my head means there’s always going to be people that are asking, How do I get privacy if I’m in cohousing? I don’t want to be around people all the time. cohousing is the best of both worlds because everything is designed architecturally to give you the privacy that you need and the social engagement that you want. Everything your own private home is built that way. Your Community is built that way. So it is the best of both worlds. And so there’s those organizations, the wonderful movie the best of both worlds. There’s a brand new book called state of the art cohousing. There’s a book that’s been around for a long time called the Senior Cohousing Handbook, written by Chuck Durrette. So I will share this information with Few that you can share on your website.

 

Liz Craven

That’s great. So all of those things that Gail just mentioned will be available in the show notes. You can find show notes for episode nine at Sageaging.us and just find episode nine and you’ll find all of the show notes complete with all of these links right there to make easy access for you. Gail, thank you so much for joining me today. You have really shed some light on the whole concept of cohousing and specifically the concept of senior cohousing and I believe that it’s something that has a lot of legs and really could take hold given the fact that things are changing so drastically, demographically. So thank you for joining us. I really appreciate your time.

 

Gail Bagley

I had a great time. This is wonderful. You’re doing such a wonderful with elder care guide and what this podcast is, it’s so perfect. So thank you Liz

 

Liz Craven

Thanks for listening. If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would click Subscribe now and share this aging podcast with a friend. If you have a topic idea that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at Sageaging.us

 

 

 

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Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.