"If you took twenty seniors, put them on a boat to a desert island, they'd do a better job of taking care of themselves than any institution we have yet to create."  Dr. Bill Thomas


Apart from the footprints of the owner-purchased homes, the ElderSpirit Development Corporation, a 501c3 organization, owns the grounds and common areas, and provides for their maintenance and upkeep. The Corporation is also responsible for collecting apartment rents and other dues, and using these funds to make payments on the loans incurred for the brick-and-mortar elements of our community. In this way the Corporation supports the existence of our intentional cohousing community. See the note below for a statement from the Development Corporation Board.

At the same time, day-to-day life at ElderSpirit is managed by the Members’ Association itself and the committees and workgroups which have evolved to focus on the various elements of community. Each month the Members' Association meets and decides issues before it.  All decisions related to community life are made by consensus, where everyone’s opinion is encouraged and respected. ElderSpirit members are committed to challenging the prevailing cultural view of aging as a time of life that has decreasing value for the person or the community. One of the ways we do this is to live together in interdependent ways, and there is no outside organization that takes care of us; rather, we organize to support ourselves and others in the community.

ElderSpirit was created over a 10-year period via a series of conferences, planning sessions and soul-searching, involving many of the people who are residents now or who remain involved today. Members were intimately involved in the construction process; we planned and implemented our landscaping and we created the Policies and Procedures and Bylaws by means of which we govern ourselves, and which continue to evolve today.library mtg

Committees of the Membership meet regularly. They guide community activities and hash out the specifics on decisions, based on general directions from the Members Association. Committees report regularly to the Members Association as a whole. As you can see from the photograph on the right, the work is often fun, and it seems to help when we incorporate some good food . . .

Among Members' ongoing committees are Care, Common Buildings Management, Buildings and Grounds, Common Meals, Finance, Landscape, Membership, Program, Dying at Home and Spiritual Life, as well as ad hoc committees and work groups for special projects. According to our interests and skills, members choose their committees. We may join a cooking team and take a turn preparing one of the twice-weekly common meals; we may weed, plant, compost and mulch the gardens; we may help write the weekly bulletins, maintain order in our community library and many other tasks. Oftentimes it is less talking and more doing - we share the work that is necessary to maintain the life of the community so that everyone is involved, but no-one needs to feel overwhelmed (see Lessons from Geese below).

charlie Our Community has developed a process for resolving the difficulties that are bound to arise among people who are trying to live together. Members in conflict with other individuals should go directly to them. Resolution comes with openness and honesty on the part of both parties. The outcome often leaves the parties with a stronger relationship and a lasting bond. To help with interpersonal conflicts that cannot be resolved by the affected individuals talking it out between themselves, we've created an ElderCouncil, a pool of community elders over 80 who are willing to meet with, give advice, and set up safe opportunities for people to work out their differences. The use of the conflict resolution process is strictly voluntary.   

From time to time we have Forums for a broader view on issues.  In short, ElderSpirit welcomes everyone's participation, and continues to evolve.

Most residents here are also deeply engaged in the wider community that surrounds us in southwest Virginia, and we give of our gifts as volunteers for a variety of organizations, whether spiritual, social, cultural, political, ecological.


The ElderSpirit Development Corporation (EDC) is the owner of the common property and rental housing of ElderSpirit community. 

The EDC Board oversees the management and maintenance of the physical facilities and real property of the ElderSpirit community.
The EDC Board meets quarterly to conduct the business of the corporation.

The Board includes members of the ElderSpirit community and members of the local community. 

The EDC is a 501 c(3) tax-exempt organization


As shared at a members meeting -




>As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” draft for the birds that follow.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

> People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

>When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

> If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

>When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

> It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.  As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

>The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

> We need to make sure our honking is encouraging.  In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.  The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking that we seek. 

>When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to earth to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

>If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE GROUP PROCESS as defined by The Cohousing Company

This is the official website of ElderSpirit Community at Trailview. We welcome all, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, elderliness, or national origin.


ElderSpirit Community is entirely smoke-free, including the grounds.