With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older

With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older

by Beth Baker
With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older

With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older

by Beth Baker


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In this book, an award-winning journalist tells the story of people devising innovative ways to live as they approach retirement, options that ensure they are surrounded by a circle of friends, family, and neighbors. Based on visits and interviews at many communities around the country, Beth Baker weaves a rich tapestry of grassroots alternatives, some of them surprisingly affordable:

• a mobile home cooperative in small-town Oregon
• a senior artists colony in Los Angeles
• neighbors helping neighbors in "Villages" or "naturally occurring retirement communities"
• intentional cohousing communities
• best friends moving in together
• multigenerational families that balance togetherness and privacy
• niche communities including such diverse groups as retired postal workers, gays and lesbians, and Zen Buddhists

Drawing on new research showing the importance of social support to healthy aging and the risks associated with loneliness and isolation, the author encourages the reader to plan for a future with strong connections. Baker explores whether individuals in declining health can really stay rooted in their communities through the end of life and concludes by examining the challenge of expanding the home-care workforce and the potential of new technologies like webcams and assistive robots.

This book is the recipient of the annual Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize for the best project in the area of medicine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826519887
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Publication date: 05/05/2014
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

A former hospital worker herself, Beth Baker is a freelance journalist and a regular contributor to the Washington Post Health Section and the AARP Bulletin. Baker is the winner of two Gold National Mature Media Awards for her reporting on aging.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue: The Oncoming Train 1

Part I A Time like No Other

1 The End of Denial: Taking Charge of How We Live 7

2 Interdependence: Reconsidering "Aging in Place" 19

Part II A Wealth of Options

3 The Village: Neighbors Helping Neighbors 29

4 Cohousing: Creating Community from the Ground Up 40

5 Cooperatives: Living Affordably 56

6 NORCs: Retiring Naturally 67

7 Community Without Walls: Weaving a Web of Friendship 86

8 Generations of Hope: Living Well by Doing Good 99

9 Affinity Groups: Settling with Your Tribe 109

10 House sharing: Finding Companionship with Friends-or Strangers 131

11 The New Family: Balancing Togetherness and Privacy 144

Part III Getting from Here to There

12 Design for Life: Building Homes and Neighborhoods that Serve Us 159

13 How Will We Pay?: Planning for the Unknown 170

14 Who Will Help Us?: Advocating for Direct Care Workers 178

15 Is There a Robot in Your Future?: Accepting Non-Human Help 186

16 "What If?": Mapping Our Plan B 197

Epilogue 217

Appendix A Glossary of Alternative Models 219

Appendix B Questions to Help Guide Our Choices 221

Notes 223

Index 233

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