Buy ‘True Stories of an Aging Do-Gooder: How cohousing can bridge cultural divides’

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I’ve lived a life of divergent experiences that converged when I joined the Silver Sage Village (SSV) senior cohousing community in Boulder, Colorado. My story about how to play well with others is a somewhat organized stream of consciousness.

True Stories provides “nuts-and-bolts” methods about how your community can use cultural competence techniques that better encourage members to understand one another.

Buy a signed copy direct from the publisher Boulder Community Media.

The Kindle ebook and paperback are available for purchase on Amazon.

After arguing about whether pets are allowed in the Common House, what if cohousers organized themselves and decided to collectively undertake a mission to save the world?

True Stories explores why I believe cohousing can evolve from a “social movement” into being a “social norm.”

I’ll offer a paradigm shift about how cohousing can bridge socio-economic divides.

The stories are about relations between and among individual people and the personal changes necessary to find commonality with strangers, all with different experiences and lifestyles.

In case you’ve just returned after a year in outer space, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that began in late 2019 circled the globe.

Like everyone else, I’ve had quite a bit of extra time on my hands. I have no idea how my day was occupied before self-isolation.

COVID-19 brought to light glaring cultural inequities. The pandemic closed down the economy, and people lost their jobs.

That exposed the lack of lower-priced housing options when people lost their homes or kicked out of their rental apartments.

If homeowners default on their loans at the same time, as happened in 2009, the market will be flooded with pricey houses that nobody can afford to purchase, except the bottom-feeders.

Racial justice issues quickly floated to the top of the social change pond.

African American and Latino people are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, hospitalization, and death than the general population.

One nexus of lower-priced housing and racial justice is rental and owner-occupied cohousing that pool resources.

Residents share the financial risks and collaboratively operate and maintain their communities.

The story is written from my viewpoint as a cohousing community member, as opposed to a cohousing professional or a cohousing professional who lives in a community.

SSV is one of 170 existing cohousing communities in the United States.

If cohousing is such a great idea, why aren’t there thousands of communities popping up in all corners of the country?

After all, if there are 30,000 people residing in existing an existing cohousing community or in the community formation phase.

The book is part memoir and part “how-to” manual about my experiences that seemed unrelated at the time but added to my life gestalt, which eventually led me to believe cohousing can make social change happen by bridging cultural divides.

The only person I have any control over is myself. For me, personal change happens when keeping the amount of time between the past and the present as small as possible.

My experiences aren’t that remarkable, but the intent is to encourage you to remember what happened in your personal history as you figure out the opportunities and challenges you’ll face when choosing to care and share in a cohousing community.

The ‘Aging Gratefully’ in cohousing doc series streams as VOD – buy or rent

alan mri machine

Book a personal appearance by “Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors” filmmaker Alan O’Hashi who will screen the film and facilitate a discussion. Stipend is negotiable!

The “Aging Gratefully in Cohousing” documentary series Video on Demand is now available. The three movies can be rented or purchased.

You can also book a screening for your community or general audience by obtaining a screening license for a nominal donation.

To purchase or rent, click on the Video On Demand (VOD) links below:

“Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors” (Run Time: 50min – 2017) Filmmaker and Silver Sage Village senior cohousing resident Alan O’Hashi is mostly recovered from his death bed illness in 2013. As a result of that experience he’s become much more aware of his health. One of his neighbors circulated information about a research study at the University of Colorado about the effects of exercise on brain health. Curious, he was selected to be a research subject. To measure success, one of the criteria is emotional health and strength of relationship building.

Does living in a cohousing community be an added benefit to physical exercise? He interviewed six residents of newly-formed Germantown Commons to find out their motivations to living in cohousing and whether living intentionally with neighbors was a positive experience and what physical activities happen in a group setting.

Germantown Commons Residents:

  • Essie Sappenfield (retired)
  • Doug Luckes (still working)
  • Suzanne Glasgow (still working)
  • Sarah Carroll (single mom)
  • Chris Corby (still working)
  • Ginger Lange (retired)
  • Vicki Metzgar (retired)

Also Appearing:

  • Bryan Bowen, AIA (Caddis Architects)
  • Angela Bryan PhD,( Principal Investigator CU FORCE study)

IMG_7366

Book a personal appearance by “Aging Gratefully: The Power of Culture and Traditions” filmmaker Alan O’Hashi who will screen the film and facilitate a discussion about his experiences. Stipend is negotiable.

“Aging Gratefully: The Power of Culture and Traditions” (Run Time: 30 min – 2017) My latest trek took me to South Africa where I’m investigating a third documentary in the Aging Gratefully series. This pilot is mostly based on a little research and my initial observations spanning Tolstoy to Gandhi to Mandela to the present time.

There’s an intentional community being formed in the Town of Memel and the Township of Zamani in the South African Free State Province by a friend and colleague, Steven Ablondi and his wife Cindy Burns. Steve and I serve on the National Cohousing Association board of directors.

I tagged along with the Memel Global Community architect and my across the street neighbor Bryan Bowen and a couple of his crew, Jamison and Molly. Bryan lives in the Wild Sage Cohousing community in Boulder.

I embedded myself with a local buy named Shakes in the Black African community and even though it was only for a couple days, I gained quite a bit of insight into the cultural dynamics, which are not unlike those I encounter among my Northern Arapaho tribal member friends.

As this story develops, how Native American tribes could incorporate cohousing concepts into its growing housing demand will also be investigated. There are generations-long traditional tribal cultures that have a norm about multi-generational care for elders. Does it it makes any sense to form intentional communities around these customs?

This is a 30 minutes pilot of my visit shot mainly on an iPhone 6s and I’m not sure if anything will come of this story. I’m collaborating with a fellow filmmaker Pieter Lombaard, who appears in the short. We’re trying to figure out a good story with a great arc. What do you think?

Memel Global Community featured denizens:

  • Steven Ablondi (cofounder)
  • Bryan Bowen (Caddis Architects)
  • Shakes Mafanela (SheWins sports coordinator)
  • Marley Hauser (SheWins volunteer)
  • Pieter Lombaard (Binary Film Works)

alan shoveling

Book a personal appearance by “Aging Gratefully: The Power of Community” filmmaker Alan O’Hashi who will screen the film and facilitate a discussion about his experiences. Stipend is negotiable!

“Aging Gratefully: The Power of Community” (Run Time: 51min – 2015) In the first of the series, what if 25 senior citizens decided to grow old together in a cohousing community? Learn about their illness, angst, and fun times while owning and maintaining 16 condos, a common house and community gardens.

Cohousing is a collaborative living arrangement. Residents own their own homes, live private lives but share in the ownership and upkeep of common spaces such the garden and common house.

It’s a challenging way to live, but living together more intentionally is a hedge against being alone and isolated through the twilight years of life.

Filmmaker and Silver Sage Village resident Alan O’Hashi was on his death bed in December 2013. Following a 6 week hospital and rehab stay and a month of home confinement, he joined a yoga community to regain his strength, but learned more about himself than just getting healthier.

Through his reflections, he recounts his continuing recovery and weaves those experiences with the perspectives of neighbors with Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and those who find themselves in supportive neighborly care giving roles.

Cohousing pioneers Katie McCamant and Chuck Durrett and gerontologist Anne Glass phD offer their perspectives about senior cohousing living.

Silver Sage Village featured residents:

  • Lindy Cook (nurse)
  • John Huyler (facilitator)
  • Henry and Jean Kroll (retired from San Francisco)
  • Dan Knifong (retired professor)
  • Jim Leach (Silver Sage Village developer)
  • Margaret Porter (retired federal government)

Also Appearing:

  • Anne Glass phD (University of North Carolina Wilmington Gerontology Program Coordinator)
  • Chuck Durrett AIA (McCamant and Durrett Architects)
  • Katie McCamant (The Cohousing Company)
  • Larissa Ortiz (teacher The Little Yoga Studio)

The Denver Post published a story prior to “Aging Gratefully” production beginning and KGNU radio did a story about it post production

If you have questions about purchase, rental or booking a screening, email Boulder Community Media

‘Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors’ screens April 25th

alan mri machine

Filmmaker Alan O’Hashi had to take a “before” and “after” MRI as a participant in the FORCE Study. Get free tickets for the movie test screening by clicking on the photo.

“Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors” has a first cut test screening at the Dairy Arts Center – Boedecker Theater. Doors 630pm – cash bar and snacks in the Polk Cafe – movie at 7pm. Tickets are free, but sign up so we can keep track of seats.

Check out the facebook event page. Tickets are free, but sign up on eventbrite so we can keep track of people since the Boedecker has limited seating

Filmmaker and Silver Sage Village senior cohousing resident Alan O’Hashi is mostly recovered from his 2013 death bed illness. As a result of that experience he’s become much more aware of his health, almost to the point of hypochondria.

One of his neighbors circulated information about a research study at the University of Colorado about the effects of exercise on brain health.

Curious, he applied and was selected to be a research subject. To measure success, the criteria emotional health and strength of relationship building.

gtc group toast

Residents of the Germantown Commons cohousing community in Nashville, TN enjoy a neighborly get together.

Is living in an intentional community, such as cohousing, an added benefit to physical exercise? He interviewed CU researcher Angel Bryan about her research to gain an empirical perspective and six residents of newly-formed Germantown Commons to find out their anecdotal motivations to living in cohousing and whether living intentionally with neighbors was a positive experience and what physical activities happen in a group setting.

Germantown Commons Residents:
– Essie Sappenfield (retired)
– Doug Luckes (still working)
– Suzanne Glasgow (still working)
– Sarah Carroll (single mom)
– Chris Corby (still working)
– Ginger Lange (retired)
– Vicki Metzgar (retired)

Also Appearing:
– Bryan Bowen, AIA (Caddis Architects)
– Angela Bryan PhD,( Principal Investigator CU FORCE study)

April 1st Schmoozer – Boulder Arts Week Music and Movies

okeeffe sketchBoulder Arts Week is a happening time in the creative community and we’re jumping in with our monthly schmoozer and featuring the work of women. The April 1st event is free of charge, but buy some music!

We don’t have a lot of wall space for flat art. Instead, we’ll be entertaining with some music and a short movie in the Silver Sage Village cohousing TV room.

The Whistle Stop F.I.L.M. Festival screens “Cordially, Georgia O’Keeffe” about the artist and her sister’s visit to Ward Colorado in 1917 will screen in the media room between music sets.

Laurie-proof-5b615 to 715pm-ish: Multi-media music and video by Laurie Dameron. Learn about Laurie and her music http://www.lauriedameron.com/

During the music change a couple short movies (TBD)

cindy brandle745 to 845pm-ish: Music by Cindy Brandle. Check out her music and background https://www.reverbnation.com/cindybrandle

We’ll have some snacks and drinks. Invite 100 of your closest friends!

Book a screening for ‘Aging Gratefully: The Power of Community” released

heil ranch picnic

Silver Sage Village residents attend a variety of events including a picnic at Heil Ranch. Join the facebook page for the movie.

A new documentary about aging together finds 25 senior citizens the subjects of “Aging Gratefully: The Power of Community”.  Keep up with the latest on the facebook page.

The film provides insights from six residents of the Silver Sage Village senior cohousing community about their experiences of growing old together.

Cohousing is a collaborative living arrangement. Residents own their own homes, live private lives but share in the ownership and upkeep of common spaces such the garden and common house.

It’s a challenging way to live, but living together more intentionally is a hedge against being alone and isolated through the twilight years of life.

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Filmmaker Alan O’Hashi and videographer Michael Conti pose at the Little Yoga Studio where the opening sequences were filmed.

Filmmaker and Silver Sage Village resident Alan O’Hashi was on his death bed in December 2013. While regaining his health he joined a yoga community to regain his strength. The opening scene was recorded at the Little Yoga Studio.

Through his reflections, he recounts his continuing recovery and weaves those experiences with the perspectives of neighbors with Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and those who find themselves in supportive neighborly care giving roles.

henry jean bday

Henry and Jean Kroll celebrate’s Henry’s birthday at Silver Sage Village. Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and is now living in a long term nursing facility.

Cohousing pioneer Chuck Durrett and gerontologist Anne Glass phD offer their perspectives about senior cohousing living.

Silver Sage Village residents:
– Lindy Cook (nurse)
– John Huyler (facilitator)
– Dan Knifong (retired professor)
– Jim Leach (Silver Sage Village developer)
– Alan O’Hashi (filmmaker)
Margaret Porter (retired federal government)

Also Appearing:
– Anne Glass phD (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
– Chuck Durrett AIA (The Cohousing Company)
– Larissa Ortiz (teacher The Little Yoga Studio)