Wolf Creek
Lodge Newsletter 
Adult Cohousing in Grass Valley, CA
February, 2018
Editor - Bob Miller
This month we focus on "Ageing in Place". A more serious and challenging topic than our normal offerings.

This popular term refers to seniors staying in their current home rather than moving to senior housing, living with the kids, assisted living, nursing home or whatever. Now we in Wolf Creek Lodge have all decided to move from our previous homes and "age" in Wolf Creek Lodge. It can be argued that we decided not to "Age in Place" but to move to an environment more appropriate to our current ages.

There are many reports, research papers, blogs and what-have-you that pontificate about "Ageing in Place". In this newsletter we dispense with theory and conjecture and provide real life accounts of how our older members are ageing in Wolf Creek Lodge.

Ski report - the Sierras finally got some serious snow around the 25th of the month. The down hill areas are looking good and the cross country centers have a decent number of trails in reasonable condition bu t we need more.

There are currently no homes available at Wolf Creek Lodge but there are homes that we know will come on the market. There have been some changes in owners' plans but this statement remains true. By the time you have properly investigated the Wolf Creek Lodge community and have gotten your existing home ready to sell there will be a home available. See "Available Homes" below. Contact us if you are interested so we can be more specific.

Bob Miller,
Since we want to describe actual ageing of real people we have to offer a modicum of privacy. So in the following, names have been changed and in some cases the characters are a conglomeration of real people. Doubtless you will recognize some of us - just don't ask any questions.

We are also ignoring the younger half of the membership. They need to work on getting older if they want to be considered as ageing. So our subjects are all 74 or older.

I asked a group at coffee to identify the issues associated with ageing. Here is a short list:
  • we have reduced strength,
  • our balance declines,
  • we think more slowly,
  • we are less agile,
  • our hearing declines,
  • our digestive system can be finicky,
  • for some eyesight is an issue,
  • stamina and endurance are reduced,
  • we can suffer joint pain due to past injury or arthritis.
There is concern about our ability to drive. Some are planning how they will operate without a car.

The good news is that we are still here and eager to cause trouble. We live in a senior friendly building, can walk to stores and other services and have really helpful neighbors..
The places where we did not age
All members came from a prior home. There are examples of folk who lived in apartments, others were still living in the homes where they raised their children and others were in a large home on multiple acres in the middle of nowhere.

The latter group are worthy of comment. In this scenario people retire from jobs, perhaps in the bay area, and decide to leave it all behind and buy a home on 10 or more acres 20 miles or so out of some rural town. They buy the ride-on tractor with all the attachments and the the chain saw with a Scandinavian name. They erect a satellite dish for 200 channels and install a dubious radio link to some mountain top to get internet access.

They discover this is hard work, isolating and very inconvenient. It's when the pioneering spirit weakens that they search for a walkable community, with reduced maintenance and a strong community spirit - hello Wolf Creek Lodge.
One of our members is well into her nineties - we will call her Mabel, not her real name. She is a role model for many of us.

She sings in a choir, welcomes friends to the common house for sing-a-longs, is a proficient computer user and is a leader on a cook team. She travels by plane regularly to visit her family. They in turn come to Wolf Creek Lodge, staying in a guest room.

What's the secret? Probably great genes, an inquiring mind, a positive attitude and many bottles of Lemon Ginger Echinacea .

She is determined to continue to live at the Lodge. She therefore undertakes a regular exercise program - Monday exercise class at church, Tuesday Qigong in the common house, Wednesday exercise class at church.

Now what about ageing? Mabel has some difficulties with her balance so we often see her walking within the community and across to the stores with a "walker". She has a cleaning lady come once a week. She no longer drives a car but makes full use of car pooling opportunities with other members and is an expert user of "Dial-a-Ride" provided by the City of Grass Valley. An afternoon nap helps keep her alert.

She handles the little maintenance annoyances such as blocked garbage disposals, failed light bulbs, tripped breakers and so on by politely discussing the issues with members of the community who usually respond in a timely manner.

Not many of us will be so fortunate to live such an active life for so many years.
Diane is 80. She is in good health. She visits the gym three times a week to do both weights and cardio and takes regular short walks. She has a once a week volunteer job. She meets regularly with a Mahjong group. A long time traveler she has recently been to China and traveled by train from Montreal to Vancouver.

She takes extra care when driving and no longer drives at night. She is aware that her attention to the road and other traffic can sometimes be deficient. She may have to give up driving in the future and has been experimenting with the bus in preparation.
Bert is almost 80 but still rides his road bike. Perhaps on gentler rides than before but he can still do 40 or so miles a day. He limits his landscaping activities to mowing the grass. "I moved to Wolf Creek Lodge to escape landscaping chores".

He and his wife set off regularly in their RV across states in the Western US. He is well informed about both local and national politics and is happy to share his views at the morning coffee hour.

He volunteers at at a local music organization. He is now careful to limit what he does recognizing that his strength and balance are not what they used to be. He has declared that climbing ladders is no longer a good idea.
Fred is our oldest guy - he is in his late 80s and significantly older than the other guys. He is successfully ageing at Wolf Creek Lodge. He still drives and takes long trips to visit old friends. He enjoys reading and trading stocks. He is supported by his wife and has family nearby. He goes to a special Pilates class twice a week which he finds helpful. Fred plans to visit Italy this year where he spent time as an engineer in the integrated circuit business.

Moving to Wolf Creek Lodge meant leaving behind old friends. A stroke about 6 years ago has left its mark. He now has to walk carefully and stay focused to make sure he maintains his balance. He is now hard of hearing and is unimpressed with modern hearing aid technology. It's difficult for him to engage in conversation at common meals given the noisy environment.
Alice is in her late 70s. She is still active in the community.

However, the years are having an impact. Getting down on hands and knees is no longer possible, especially if the plan is to get back up again. Help from a cleaning lady is now much appreciated. Her balance is not so good.

General mobility is good, driving a car is still possible but joints are sore and some care is necessary to avoid accidents. An afternoon nap is very helpful.
Wendy is also 80. She takes charge of maintenance related projects in our cohousing community.

She visits the gym twice a week for Tai Chi and twice a week for yoga. She hikes along local trails. She volunteers at the library, plays Mahjong and enjoys fiber arts.

She notices a reduction in her energy and stamina. Digestive issues compel her to be careful about what she eats. She is concerned about driving. She is now less confident, cautious and concerned about safety. She suspects that failing eyesight will require her to stop driving all together.
We are deliberately not using popular euphemisms such as "passing". Here at Wolf Creek Lodge there is a healthy recognition that this eventually happens to us all - even the newsletter editor.

Three members of Wolf Creek Lodge have died during our five years of community living. Two relatively quickly with only a few weeks or so of infirmity. One was ill for several months and did move into a nursing home. All three came close to completing their lives "in place" at the Lodge.
The Youngsters
The younger half of the Wolf Creek Lodge membership has been neglected in this newsletter as we announced above. Let's cast an eye over them. They probably are in denial about the ageing process in their youthful naivete. They go hiking, dancing, take Zumba classes, go kayaking, ride horses, ski, go biking and believe they are immortal.

They are building goodwill by actively participating in the community's chores especially those that require manual labor.
The Message
We have focused on the older members of Wolf Creek Lodge. These little bios demonstrate that senior cohousing really works. You can lead an active, effective and comfortable life here as the years pass.

What happens as the community ages? It's my observation that those who now join us are on the younger side. Older folks have probably decided where they are going to continue to live and are unlikely to move unless compelled by circumstances. I look forward to welcoming future members who will form "Wolf Creek Lodge - The Next Generation".
Hospitality House Cooking Team
We are pleased to recognize a group calling themselves "Wolf Creek Lodge and Friends" who cook a meal once a month for the 70 or so clients of Hospitality House, a local homeless shelter. The Wolf Creek Lodge participants are Vicki, Joyce, Mary Eve, Gayle, Nancy M, and Jacque,

Thank you.
Rabbie Burns
fou the noo
Robert Burns died at 37 so he may have been a great poet but was a poor performer in terms of "Ageing in Place."

For the third year Wolf Creek Lodge held a Burns Supper in his honor. Sue Dunbar read the Selkirk Grace, Steve, in kilt, addressed the haggis, Jacque played Loch Lomond (OK, not Burns but very Scottish), the choir sang "A Man's a Man for A' That", Sue E. read excerpts from Tam O' Shanter, Claire read "To a Mouse", Jim led us in the "Gay Gordons" and we finished in fine style with Auld Lang Syne, accompanied by Robert on the accordion.

The picture shows an unidentified member dramatically illustrating the meaning of the word "fou" as used in Tam O'Shanter while sing "Fou the Noo".

There was a rumor that there was tea in the whisky bottle but Suzanne was able to assure us that "this is certainly not tea."
Letter from #104
Suzanne Marriott
Suzanne for Newsletter
Well will you?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm ninety-four?

Now that sixty-four has come and gone, I’m updating the Beatles’ lyrics for our Wolf Creek Lodge community. And I suspect the resounding answer to their question is “Yes.” After all, nothing will stop our common meals program from continuing from here to eternity.

As baby boomers age, books about aging are becoming increasingly popular. It’s almost as if we invented it! Perhaps, though, we are inventing new ways of doing it, and living in senior cohousing is one of those ways. Residing in a caring, supportive community means we can expect to stay in our homes longer as we await the inevitable tolling of the bell. 

For those of us who are determined not to go softly into that good night, below are some inspiring words gleaned from the web.

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest - Larry Lorenzoni
Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional - Chili Davis
People ask me what I’d most appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday. I tell them, a paternity suit - George Burns
Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone - Jim Fiebig
Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back up - John Wagner
I don't do alcohol anymore - I get the same effect just standing up fast – Anonymous
First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down - Leo Rosenberg
Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many – Anonymous
Definition of dying: To suddenly stop sinning – Anonymous
When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car – Will Rogers
Note: No prize will be given for identifying all the allusions this article.
Digging in the Dirt
Claire Miller
Ageing in Place" from the plants' point of view
Claire for column
For us, in many ways, aging is a lot like it is for you humans.  We put down long roots. We get used to our location- what time the sun hits us, when the irrigation will come on, and so on. We get used to those who live around us.

The big difference between you and us is “Choice”, and here we are at a serious disadvantage. We are where we are because someone put us here, and like it or not, there’s not much we can do about it. Even if it makes us sick. Even if it kills. Stuck!  

And on the other hand, sometimes we find ourselves in the compost pile (or worse the trash bin) even though we were quite happy and flourishing right where we were. That’s happened to some of my friends! ;-(

But on the whole we’re pretty lucky here. Our ‘keepers’ at least try to understand our feelings. Before we’re put into the ground, they do some research about what our ancestors needed and liked. They visit regularly for a chat. Sometimes they even slip us a little extra water on a hot day. They try to keep the peace and take the clippers to the pushy neighbors.

We try to do our part too. We’re pretty low maintenance. We don’t often complain and I think it’s fair to say we tend to get stronger and more beautiful with age.
Take that, you Humans!!
Living in the Lodge
Magdalene Jaeckel
Magdalene for column
Our theme this month is:” Aging in Place”. I believe I am eminently qualified to talk about this. I moved into Wolf Creek Lodge rather late in life. I didn’t know about cohousing till I was 84.

Most people here are much younger than I am, and they are participating very diligently in all the teams and tasks that are part of a cohousing community. It would not work if everyone would be as old as I am. I am not able to contribute like my neighbors do. But since I am here now, I enjoy the benefits of the daily help to a great extent. I try to keep myself as fit as possible, not only for my own sake, but also so as not to become too much of a burden on my neighbors.

Everyone here is very active with sports, with volunteering in the greater community and with traveling. It is a very health-conscious group. So, they will all age well, I am sure.

This is another positive aspect of co-housing. We all have downsized from big homes to our units; we are free to follow our interests. The social cohesiveness of a cohousing community, as has been proven, helps us not to feel isolated and lonesome, and keeps us happy and keeps our mind sharp. 
Available Homes
There are no homes currently available at Wolf Creek Lodge. However, if you are interested in cohousing and Wolf Creek Lodge we encourage you to find out more. This should be a deliberate process. 

By the time you have decided you want to join our community, have downsized your possessions and prepared to market your current home chances are a home will be available at Wolf Creek Lodge.

We try to keep the latest status on our website. By checking on these links to the website during the month you will get the latest updates. Here are the links: 

Contact us: phone: (800) 558-3775 

For details of Open Houses and much more visit our website at:
Grass Valley and Nevada City
Want to know more about 
Grass Valley and Nevada City? 

Here are some links we have found useful:
Down Town Grass Valley -
Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce -
Visit Nevada County - 
Sierra Food Wine Art
Bear Yuba Land Trust
GIS Receational Viewer -
Go Nevada County - 
YubaNet Calendar - 
Grass Valley Travel Guide -