It takes villages: Boomers’ alternative approach to retirement living

Beth-Baker-With-Little-Help-cover1Where do retired recreational vehicle enthusiasts go when they get too old to hit the road? Some are parking – permanently – at the Escapees Care Center, an adult day-care center in Livingston, Texas, where they can live in their RVs and pay monthly fees that cover whatever care they may need and commune with other enthusiasts.

The center is just one example among dozens of innovative communal retirement living arrangements springing up around the country as boomers seek out alternatives to traditional senior living models. Some support aging in place, such as Beacon Hill Village in Boston, a grassroots community founded by a small group of neighborhood residents. Others involve moves to new communities of like-minded souls – retired postal workers, LGBT seniors, artists, Zen Buddhists and, yes, RV lovers.

Beth Baker, a journalist who specializes in aging, explores alternative communities in her new book, With a Little Help from our Friends: Creating Community as we Grow Older (Vanderbilt University Press). I spoke with her recently about what she learned about alternative communities. Here is an edited version of our conversation.