Sue Lantz has a message for boomers: we need each other, especially now as we age. We need to offer help to each other — and we need to be able to receive help. And, the key question is how and where?
Yet, there’s a problem. “Boomers tend to be very individual oriented,” she notes. “We cherish our identities as individuals, which we equate to independence”.
“But you’re deluding yourself if you think you’re not going to eventually need help during your older years. The question is, who will you depend on?”
Lantz founded the consulting organization Collaborative Aging a few years ago, and is at work writing a self-help book aimed at boomers who want to consider their preferences and options.
“I’m trying to bring some light to collaborative models of aging, including cohousing,” she says. If you look at the costs of housing and care and our increasing longevity, it’s very clear that something has to give.”
Sue Lantz is a participant in the Oct 20-21 workshop, Is Cohousing Your Next Step?
The big idea Lantz would like to get across to independent minded boomers is that “interdependence is also autonomy.” Or, we cannot do it alone.
Dependence or independence is not either-or, she suggests. “If we can accept the concept of interdependence, as in cohousing, for example, then we actually gain autonomy.” In other words, although it sounds paradoxical, we preserve our independence best by living in a place that allows us to easily give and receive help”.
Lantz notes that an abundance of research suggests that seniors who live with other active seniors enjoy longer, healthier lives. She points out that choosing your company wisely can have a big impact on your aging experience.”
“There’s abundant research to show that peers are the biggest influencers of our choices and behaviours, such as managing chronic diseases that arise with aging. So if you want to live a healthy life, why not situate yourself among people who you think share these values? And then enjoy each other and influence each other in a healthy way.”
That’s where cohousing comes in. “People need to be deliberate in their plans and choices about where they locate and who they locate near.” And, we need more tools to help boomers make these informed choices.
Number four in a series highlighting the leadership and themes to be explored at Is Cohousing Your Next Step, October 20-21, in Toronto. Read the whole series:
- Cohousing offers a radically simple idea
- An intentional family: Mary Jordan and the RareBirds
- Cohousing: A day in the life
- Why you’ll live healthier, longer in cohousing