Planning for Aging in Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts February 17th

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

On this page:

Course description

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 Planning for Aging in Community 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. 

Who this course is for

  • anyone of any age who wants to consider how to age well
  • people who may want more community connection as they age, whether or not they currently live in an intentional community

What you’ll learn

Classes and topics in the Planning for Aging in Community syllabus include:

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

Led by Margaret Critchlow

  • 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

Led by Margaret Critchlow

  • 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

Led by Margaret Critchlow

  • 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: How to create your own plan for living and aging well

Led by Margaret Critchlow

  • legacy thinking, interdependence and seven generation wisdom
  • finding your dynamic balance between privacy and community
  • how to be a good new member of an existing communtiy
  • being resilient when the unexpected happens
  • committing to your plan for aging well

5th Class: Building a support network

Led by Laird Schaub

  • keys to quality of life as we age
  • social needs
  • intentional community as an option

Your instructors

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.

Laird Schaub, Planning for Aging in Community course instructor

Laird Schaub

Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible. He lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found.
Laird also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years. In 1987, he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years.
In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.

Read his blog Laird’s Commentary on Community and Consensus

Course schedule

  • 1st Class – February 17, 202
  • 2nd Class – February 24, 2023
  • 3rd Class – March 3, 2023
  • 4th Class – March 10, 2023
  • 5th Class – March 17, 2023

All Planning for Aging in Community classes are on Fridays:

  • Pacific: 1:00-3:00pm
  • Mountain: 2:00-4:00pm
  • Central: 3:00-5:00pm
  • Eastern: 4:00-6:00pm


“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

“I appreciated each presenter’s organization of thoughts and clarity in expressing new (for me) perspectives about aging. I’d recommend it to a friend.”

-Evelyn Delaney

“This is a wonderful course. It is not only helpful but can be transforming, and good for individuals, groups and the world.”

-Lulu Elmes

“It was comprehensive and well-organized. Topics and speakers were outstanding.”

-Haven Wright

Course fee

  • Early bird discount through February 5, 2023: $249
  • Regular price: $299

Become a member learner

You get several benefits, including 20% off all our online courses, and access to our Member Library with hundreds of videos, guides, policies and templates.

Sign up for membership

Financial support

You can apply for a scholarship if you need financial support to attend one of our courses. We encourage those with low-income and from marginalized groups to apply. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.

Apply for a scholarship

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



Planning for Aging in Community Course


(Price is per person)*

*Interested in participating as a group? Please email Lauren at [email protected].

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