Chapel Hill News

Cohousing expert to discuss intentional communities at Eno Fellowship

Katie McCamant, cohousing expert, will speak about “Senior Cohousing: Thriving in Community” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road in Durham.

Baby boomers are looking for ways to do retirement and aging differently from their parents, and cohousing is one such avenue. Cohousing is an intentional community designed to bring back and expand upon the close knit neighborhoods of the past.

Both architects, McCamant, along with her husband Charles Durrett, lived in and studied cohousing in The Netherlands in the 1980s and brought the concept to the United States at that time. They are the coauthors of the book “Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable CommunitiesMcCamant has been involved in the formation of over 50 such communities.

In cohousing, neighbors commit to being part of a community for everyone’s mutual benefit, and the design of the community, originally created with input from the future residents, promotes frequent interaction and close relationships while residents choose their own level of engagement. There are several cohousing communities in the area: Eno Commons, Solterra, and Durham Central Park Cohousing Community in Durham, Pacifica in Carrboro, and Arcadia in Chapel Hill.

In senior cohousing, residents agree to be “good neighbors” while it is not expected that all will be best of friends. Having a close knit community combats the loneliness and isolation many elders experience especially as they become less mobile and adds to the safety and security of the neighborhood. Sharing of resources, even in terms of caregiving, help keep expenses down. Senior cohousing communities are being encouraged to include a caregiver suite in the Common House for future shared use of residents in need of extra assistance. AARP’ s 2011 survey showed that 90 percent adults wish to stay in their homes as they age. Many features of a well-planned senior cohousing community will aid residents in staying in their homes longer. Senior cohousing, Elderberry, is in Rougemont, and there are two forming senior cohousing communities in Durham: Village Hearth Cohousing and Intown Neighborhood Place.

All are welcome at Friday’s presentation; a $10 cash/check donation is requested at the door. For more information contact Pat at or Margaret at 561-714-8009.

This presentation is sponsored by Village Hearth Cohousing, which is seeking people interested in creating cohousing for active LGBT community members, friends, and allies on 15 wooded acres in north Durham.