New York: alternative assisted living


As part of my tour of the small anthroposophical community in Chestnut Ridge, NY, I enjoyed visiting the Fellowship, an alternative assisted living center.

 This center was on a beautiful wooded property near a farm. It consisted of 60 elderly residents (members) and 40 volunteers (co-workers) and their 25 children age 0-18.

The volunteers are provided with free housing and food and get a small stipend.  Their children can attend the neighboring Green Meadow Waldorf School (tuition $20,000 plus) for virtually free.

The members and co-workers are invited to work at a candle shop, woodworking shop, garden and other endeavors that make money for the center.

Everything is inspired by the work of anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner. Members and co-workers are invited to attend Steiner study groups or check out his books from a library.

 Much of the architecture is in Steiner style which avoids right angles as much as possible. The walls were painted in soft pastel colors in Steiner’s Lazure method which gives the walls sense of motion.

I met the delightful 101-year old resident Doris (see above) who lives in her own one-bedroom apartment. She said she loved it, especially meeting new people.

I was told there is no other assisted living center designed quite like this. It was interesting to see a model that doesn’t warehouse the elderly away from younger people.

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