Exploring Community for Aging Well

5-Week Online Course

Prepare yourself for getting older and discover elder housing options for more social connection that honors your unique path in Exploring Community for Aging Well.

Course fee: $99-$249 USD

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Course description and syllabus

We’ve seen loneliness rise along with longevity, in our western culture that fails to provide a meaningful place for its aging population.

How do you imagine your life as you age? Do you see yourself spending time with loving friends and supportive neighbors? Do you see yourself enjoying both privacy and connection in a vibrant community? Communities offer a radically different approach to the journey of becoming older.

In the Exploring Community for Aging Well course, you’ll learn about downsizing living spaces and stuff–how much, when and how to do it–while highlighting the importance of more social connection without compromising one’s personal privacy. This course presents a wide range of elder housing options including intentional communities.

Live classes are hosted on Zoom. All classes are recorded and available on our learning platform within 24 hours after each class ends and through 30 days after the last class. 

Classes and topics in the Exploring Community for Aging Well syllabus include:

1st Class: How to reframe your expectations about the realities of aging

  • seniors, health care and housing statistics
  • explore experiences of aging
  • getting out of denial about aging
  • what “aging well” could mean for you

2nd Class: What to scale up / down to age well

  • considering how you live now
  • when, why and how you might downsize
  • how more social capital can support aging well and how to build it for aging in place
  • the importance of social connections for mutual support
  • links between community and quality of life

3rd Class: Housing options for aging well

  • where and with whom to grow old
  • housing alternatives that can bring us together and support collaboration
  • intentional communities as options for aging and cost to joining
  • pros and cons of starting your own intentional community to age in
  • how and when to choose your housing option(s)

4th Class: Lessons from a senior cohousing community

  • community values and design to support aging well
  • co-care / neighborly support and its limits
  • contributing to community / social support
  • complexities & challenges of community living for growth

5th Class: Your Next Steps

  • Is aging in community for you?
  • the balance between privacy and community
  • resilience when the unexpected happens
  • committing to your plan for aging well

Course schedule

  • TBD

Your instructor

Margaret Critchlow, Planning for Aging in Community course instructor

Margaret Critchlow

Margaret Critchlow, PhD, taught anthropology at York University in Toronto, Canada for 25 years before retiring to Vancouver Island. She loved learning from villagers in the south Pacific islands of Vanuatu and from residents of Canadian housing co-ops. She has written or co-authored more than 50 academic articles and seven books.

Margaret was a founding member of the first senior cohousing community in western Canada, Harbourside Cohousing, where she has lived with her husband since it opened in Jan 2016. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for cohousing with people of all ages, independently and as a Community Building Facilitator with Cohousing Development Consulting. 

Her courses, “Aging well in community” and “Is cohousing for you?” have supported people to better understand what they are getting into when they join a cohousing community.


“What I valued most was that the presentations really gave me a sense of what living in community can be like for elders – I do not live in a community yet, and the range and depth of the discussions were very helpful.”

-Kate O’Shea

“The presenter had put a great deal of work and research into this class. She gave many useful resources to follow up on after the class. I enjoyed the discussions. Hearing other peoples’ ideas and experiences gave me hope and new ideas on my search for finding a community. I enjoyed meeting each week with people who are in a similar position of seeking alternative options for living situations.”

-Leslie Slate

“The content was thought provoking. [Exploring Community for Aging Well] provided a reality check for me, offered new ideas and helpful resources. It caused me to change my thoughts about what I wanted my elder future to look like. And it was good to meet other elders exploring their futures.”

-Janice Olch

“Margaret is such an excellent facilitator. Stand out leadership skill was addressing the content from her own experience, balanced with participants sharing thoughts and voicing needs. Having a cohort was very powerful for this topic and because aging is a topic that is avoided, kind of taboo. The participants were all very thoughtful and eager to think about this topic together. It was very inspiring.”

-Heidi M

The elements of an online course

Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • your course schedule with zoom links
  • recommended books
  • a dedicated discussion forum to connect with your classmates
  • class slides and other course materials
  • class video recordings and Zoom chat feed (posted after class ends)

Live interactive sessions

Each week you join a 2-hour live class with the course instructor, where you learn in a group setting with:

  • interactive presentations
  • break out sessions
  • group discussions
  • the opportunity for questions and answers, and personalized support

Classes are recorded if you miss one.

Journey with a cohort

You’ll join participants from around the world how, like you, want to learn how to be better communitarians. Benefits include:

  • opportunities to connect with like-minded people
  • opportunities to share ideas and stories
  • a network of support to carry your community project forward

Join the wait list

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