As I first opened my ears today, I heard the morning dove’s greeting. My eyes followed, noticing the droplets of dew blanketing the clear dome skylight 18 ft. above my head. Most mornings in the Yurt provide this serenity.
Oops…let me back up. A what?….. A Yurt! Originally a nomadic Mongolian structure, a Yurt is a semi-portable round living structure framed in wood and covered in canvas. It is my statement of autonomy and self-love. Having grown up in the hotel industry I am deeply committed to providing healthy and healing space to others.
I am 27, male, have a B.S. in Gerontology from Ithaca College (where I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dr. Bill Thomas), a B.S. in Healthcare Management with a minor in Finance from Ithaca College, and a Masters in Health Administration from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. Not counting the $225,000 already paid off to Ithaca College in full, I pay $953/month as a minimum loan payment for the graduate degree. The first two years after obtaining my Masters I paid $420/month which only covered the interest and none of the principal. Needless to say, my financial situation felt impossible.
Opening up to new and alternative living arrangements was what allowed me to bring my finances into balance. I built a 12 ft. Yurt and a 30 ft. Yurt, each for under $2,500 and found an elder couple who owned 30 acres and let me live on their land in a work-trade agreement.
As we prepare for the largest segment of our labor force to enter into retirement, concerns regarding social security grow and a struggling economy is real for many of us regardless of age. Although my experience does not directly translate to senior living communities it has raised some questions within me.
Does anyone know of any senior living communities which incorporate circular buildings for housing? They seem in many ways to be less expensive, use less materials, are more energy efficient, and provide greater structural integrity than conventional timber framing. I have definitely noticed health benefits from moving out of a dorm style square apartment complex into a circular building made of natural materials and where I do not have neighbors living next to, behind, above, and below me.
Has The Eden Alternative or The Green House Project been able to quantify the health benefits of their alternative living design vs. conventional senior housing complexes?
Are there any senior communities which have used recycled building materials or energy efficient design to seriously to reduce costs?
I dream of a network of permanent round buildings (each with framed out rooms) which connect via hallways to a central community building. If the costs of a circular building are in fact less than the conventional method, this may be an opportunity for seniors to afford their own private residence at a similar cost per/ sq. ft. to facilities which use dorm/style housing.
Remember fellow ChangingAging readers, in the words of Jana Dixon “The entrepreneur is the closest thing we have to a hero in the modern age, thus they engage the hero’s journey in their daily lives. The hero-entrepreneur has the courage and audacity to spin something from nothing…bringing greater value to themselves and society.”