Senior group living and senior cohousing are two methods for providing seniors with security and independence in the later years of their lives.
Here older adults are involved in their own actual care and participate in the provision of care for others on a family-like and small-town and village community basis, that of living as independently as possible.
In many cases they are involved in the actual financing of services and facilities. Many of these seniors have been homeowners and are able to invest equity accumulated as homeowners.
Of course, non-profit or church established organizations usually cannot function without the good will and support of the community to begin with, not financial support but facilitating support and encouragement.
When I drove by the boarded-up restaurant at the river's edge on Capitol here in Shorewood the other day, I thought that if Village Hall were really interested in the older adults of this municipality that this would be an ideal site for cohousing or a group living development.
However, the Village was not interested in older adults and especially not in older adults from Shorewood when this redevelopment decision was made. Their interest was mainly the expansion of the tax base.
The internal function of this enterprise has nothing to do with the social needs of Shorewood but its principle aim is to make a profit. For Shorewood, the expansion of the tax base. Fine.
However a non-profit development like cohousing is not likely to increase the tax base as much as a strictly for-profit enterprise is likely to do. The presently approved development, if it ever does take place, will more likely be bringing in more elders from other communities.
It is not necessarily aimed at serving our own.
It would require real community thought to consider the accommodation of the needs of the older adults of our own community.
My appeal for an indoor-type of coffee patio for older adults over the years has resulted in providing three upholstered pieces near the stairway at the basement level of the Public Library. This action completely ignored the concept of a place for older adults to hang out.
There is an obvious lack of understanding of elders' needs in this community by our locally elected, unopposed and appointed Board members. Some have their own agendas or see their rewards elsewhere, perhaps at places unrelated to Shorewood itself.
Interest in our school system is the result of a traditional and commonly accepted responsibility supported by the State and our local property taxes. That type of interest as it relates to the growing number of older adults of our society has yet to develop.
We need to support the evolution of social agencies similar to local school boards, in this case for the seniors of the community, in Shorewood, perhaps a Shorewood Seniors Academy, financially and administratively modeled after our local school districts.
Its aims and objectives, the needs of the senior element of our community.
Let's not leave this idea to Village Hall, however as we might end up wtih more upholstered furniture.