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A community built for seniors

Shepherd Village co-housing shares living spaces aimed at ‘neighborliness on steroids’

By Erik Anderson, Spirit of Jefferson

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — When they decided to build accessible housing for seniors in Shepherdstown, the married couple who founded the Shepherd Village co-housing community said they were aiming for a vision of “neighborliness on steroids” and now hope to serve as a model for sustainable general residential growth.

As Phil and Charlotte Baker-Shenk began looking toward their long-term future about 15 years ago, they realized they didn’t want to move into a restrictive institutional senior living facility but that they wouldn’t be able to sustain isolation and a lack of community supports as they aged in their traditional single-family home in Sharpsburg, Maryland. 

Charlotte said they had developed a very close group of five friends with whom they wanted to share their lives “until death do us part.” So they began to explore ways of living in close proximity to each other. 

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