In February, cohousing architect Chuck Durrett and I were privileged to visit Quimper Village and conduct interviews with some of the residents for our upcoming book on the development of your neighborhood. The main reason we wanted to profile Quimper Village was that if we are putting a model of Senior Cohousing “out there”, people need look no further than QV. Something we heard over and over was how impressed everyone was with the way things were done: the "Friday Forum" where issues around aging were discussed in an honest and thoughtful way, all QV meetings which were so well organized from the start, coffee and conversation in people’s homes, the professionalism around legal and financial issues and the use of Sociocracy as an effective tool of self-governance. These qualities created an immediate atmosphere of trust and together with the high caliber of the residents indicate a bright future.
When we asked people what they enjoyed the most about living in QV, we heard variations on the same answer: the people, the meals and the sense of community. “So much richness” was how one person described the residents. Everyone loved the dinners and getting to check in with their neighbors on a regular basis and in such an informal way. There were also many stories about being helped by a neighbor in a way that wouldn’t have occurred where they previously lived. I recently attended a conference in Southern California on Social Isolation and older adults. As you may know, there are health risks associated with isolation that parallel obesity and smoking. Countless experts are banging their heads against the wall, trying to figure out effective solutions. I just sat there and thought, “Well, I know the
best one of all – it’s cohousing!” Wherever I speak in my capacity as a gerontologist I stress that isolation and our American tradition of I-don’t-need-anything-from-anyone attitude just aren’t healthy for us. What you all have created at Quimper Village is a beautiful model of how we can make meaningful connections with others that enrich not just our own lives but those of our neighbors. Thank you for sharing your stories.