Planning for senior housing

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 10:17 AM

The Orange County Department on Aging will host a three-part lecture and discussion series beginning this month to explore housing options for seniors as part of its Master Aging Plan.
The series, “Aging in Community: Planning for Our Future,” to be hosted by the Department on Aging, Charles House and Second Journey, will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Seymour Center.
The kickoff event Sept. 17 features author, architect, and visionary Sarah Susanka, who will speak about her own journey from architect to advocate for the integration of home, community and self. It will offer tools for making all three a better fit by making room for what really matters.
Susanka’s “Not So Big,” message has become a launch pad for a new dimension of understanding, not just about how people inhabit our homes, but also about how people inhabit the planet and their day-to-day lives.
The more engaged and present people are in the process of making a community, the more alive, regenerative and sustainable that community will be. The development of a collective vision for a type of community that’s beautiful, inspiring, and vital is the first step toward the realization of a new way of living.
Part two is Oct. 15, with Marianne Kilkenny, founder of the Women for Living in Community Network. She challenges audiences around the country to create supportive models for living and aging in community.
Kilkenny’s presentation will focus on shared housing, as popularized by the TV series “The Golden Girls.” Kilkenny, who lives in a collaborative house in Asheville will discuss the benefits of the shared home model. Linda Williams, a co-founder of their home, will be joining her in the presentation and the follow-up discussion.
The series concludes Nov. 19, with Dene Peterson, founder and developer of ElderSpirit Community in Abingdon, Va. It is one of the first elder co-housing projects in the United States and is home to 44 mixed-income units of housing.
Peterson, a former Glenmary nun, has won national recognition for her work. In 2006 she was named a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures, and in 2011 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Cohousing Association of the U.S.
The series is free and open to the public. Because space is limited, especially for the kickoff event, early arrival is recommended. Overflow seating will be available.
The Seymour Center is at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.
To register, go to and click on the link entitled, “Aging in Community” or visit  or call the Department on Aging Helpline at 919-968-2070.