ElderSpirit Community

Abingdon, Virginia, United States

  • Last updated: January 17, 2018 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: March 15, 2005

Mission Statement

Our mission is to be a participatory community of mutual support in which all spiritual paths are respected and encouraged.

Community Description

ElderSpirit Community is a cohousing community for mixed income elders (55 and over) located on 3.7 acres alongside the Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon, Virginia. Its distinctive intentions are mutual support through the aging process and late-life spirituality. Members believe that spiritual growth is the primary work of those in the later stages of life. Agreeing that freedom of religion is fundamental, we encourage one another in the search for meaning and commitment to the spiritual path of our choice. Through face-to-face relationships, we offer and receive support, express our needs and convictions, listen carefully to each other, and strive to act responsibly, considering our good, the good of the other, and the good of the community.

Thirteen of the cluster homes belong to owners; sixteen apartment homes are for renters, who must qualify as low-to-moderate income. The Common House is used for meals, meetings, entertainment and gatherings of all kinds. There are laundry facilities in the Common House. The Spirit Center is a special place for prayer, meditation, and celebrations. Each member serves on at least one committee. Monthly meetings of the Members Association are run by consensus. Visitors who are interested in our community are welcomed. To learn more, visit our website www.elderspirit.org.

Retreats and workshops are available for groups who have similar goals. For more information on retreats, contact Monica Appleby at 276-698-3289 or write [email protected] Dene Peterson addresses groups and meets with individuals who want to build cohousing communities in other locations. She can be reached at [email protected] For more information on starting elder intentional communities check the website www.elderspirit.net.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1999
  • Start Living Together: 2006
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address: http://www.elderspirit.org
  • Business, Project, or Organization: http://www.elderspirit.org
  • Contact Name: Monica Appleby
  • Community Address:
    125 ElderSpirit Ct
    Abingdon, Virginia, 24210
    United States
  • Location


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Location: Small Town or Village


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 3.7 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes
  • Current Number of Residences: 29
  • Planned number of residences: 29
  • Planned Residence Types: Single-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: Housing Development Corporation
  • Additional Comments:

    ElderSpirit Development Corporation owns most of the property including the common buildings and areas plus 16 rental units. Thirteen purchased homes plus their footprint of land are owned by homeowners. There are 35 on-site members and 14 off-site members..


  • Adult Members: 49
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 81-90%
  • Percent Men: 11-20%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    View the website at: www.elderspirit.org

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    This is described on the website, www.elderspirit.org,

  • Additional Comments:

    The primary member in each home must be aged 55+. ElderSpirit Community is an Independent Living establishment not Assisted Living.


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Elected co-chairs (2), secretary and treasurer of the ElderSpirit Community Members Association act as the Coordinating Council.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    ElderSpirit Development Corporation, which owns the common property and the rental apartments, budgets for routine and major maintenance maintenance. On and off-site residents belong to the ElderSpirit Community Members Association, a separate entity from the Development Corporation, with a separate budget. The Members Association budget covers the ongoing costs of the Association.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Connected to the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Up to 25%
  • Food produced locally: Between 26-49%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Large Scale Kitchen, Fire pit, garden equipment
  • Internet Available: Yes, individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Mostly Vegetarian, Vegetarian option at common meals
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices)
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

ElderSpirit Development Corporation (a 501c3 organization) owns most of the the property, including rental units, common house, spirit center and common spaces. Homeowners own their house including its footprint of land.
Homeowners, home renters and off-site members participate equally in the ElderSpirit
Community Membership Association.

Video Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Coho/US, MidAtlantic Cohousing.

Community Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community, The Cohousing Association of the United States (COHO), Mid-Atlantic Cohousing and others.


ElderSpirit, community, co-housing, late-life spirituality, diversity, Abingdon VA 24210