Seniors at home in co-housing

"You can come up with a lot of agreements from a social point of view," Durrett says. "What I'll do if you get sick. You can give each other permission to care for each other."

Residents at Silver Sage have their own units — 16 duplexes and attached homes on 1 acre. The homes are somewhat smaller to allow more space for the common house, guest rooms for visitors and gardens.

"Three plagues of aging are isolation, boredom and helplessness," says resident Arthur Okner, 66.

He has no fear of that at Silver Sage. When he had a health issue that took him to the emergency room, "immediately people were checking on me."

Okner says senior co-housing is an alternative to institutional care. "Graceful aging belongs to people who say to themselves: 'I'm going to age, I'm not going to stay the way I am now and I'm prepared for it,' " he says. "We keep each other out of the old-age nursing home as long as is humanly possible."

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