Forum on Family Caregiving

Book Reading and Community Forum
at Phoenix Commons Cohousing, an EBCOHO Supporting Member Group

with Melanie P. Merriman,
author of Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging,
on the challenges and responsibilities of family caregiving.

Free and open to the public. Come and share your caregiving story.


Author to Speak at Caregiving Forum at Phoenix Commons

In her award-winning non-fiction book, Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging, Melanie P. Merriman tells the personal story of how a loving and meticulous daughter tried to manage the caregiving needs of her aging and eventually terminally ill mother. This is a deeply moving account of the challenges and frustrations of trying to do the right thing for an aging parent. But it is also an informative compendium of the tasks and techniques of family caregiving—an issue faced every day by millions of American parents, children, siblings and others who responsibility for a dependent loved one.

Dr. Merriman will present a book reading and community forum on family caregiving at Phoenix Commons, at the base of the Park Street Bridge to Alameda. A panel of other people with family caregiving experience will also share their stories. Join us for this interactive forum and bring your own questions. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Phoenix Commons, opened in 2016, is a cohousing community for active adults aged 55 and up who have chosen to live as an intentional community. Developed by the Zimmerman family and AEC Living, which has 40 years of experience providing eldercare to the Alameda community, Phoenix Commons is creating and testing a new model for how older adults can live in close interaction and mutual support with their fellow community members while engaging in a conversation about living and aging well together.

We are busy, engaged, involved older adults. Many of us still work. But we are also concerned about care and caregiving issues and the challenges of aging and chronic illness. Many Americans either live with or someday will face the kinds of caregiving responsibilities discussed in Dr. Merriman’s book. It poignantly describes how aging, loss of function, the myriad challenges of chronic illness and resulting fears can all conspire to daunt the best-laid plans of loving family caregivers.

In a career as a quality consultant to hospice and palliative care programs nationwide, Dr. Merriman developed a deep understanding of aging, illness, and our complex health care system. But she was challenged to apply that knowledge while trying to manage her own mother’s illness. Her experience, described in her book, explores the stages and paths through aging and the question of why aging parents resist well-meaning help, often to the point of making their situations more difficult than they needed to be.

Literally Unbelievable – Book Event on Jan 26, 2018

Join us Friday, January 26th at 7:30pm for an event with local author Bronwyn Harris and her new book, “Literally Unbelievable.” Admission is free and open to all, copies of book may be available for sale.

Bronwyn Harris was a new teacher thrust into a classroom in Oakland, California’s “Killing Zone.” Her teacher preparation classes had not covered making child abuse reports, teaching traumatized children, or keeping a class calm during a lockdown. “Literally Unbelievable” chronicles eight years of ups and downs of Bronwyn Harris’s students in inner-city Oakland and the toll this took on her personally.

“Literally Unbelievable is a wonderful, brilliant, moving, important, heartbreaking, inspiring, and sometimes funny book. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Anne Lamott, bestselling author

Cohousing Meetup 10/22/17

Cohousing Meetup at Phoenix Commons

Sunday, October 22nd, 1pm-4pm

co-sponsored by East Bay Cohousing


This coming Sunday afternoon, you are invited to join founding members of Oakland’s first new-build cohousing neighborhood for a show and tell.  They want to show off their community, meet others who live or are looking into cohousing, share stories, and, maybe, meet a few good future members.  Phoenix Commons has over 20 member households, but a few units are still available for sale or rent.

Come and explore:

•   Life at Phoenix Commons Cohousing – how our sense of community and self-governance has evolved after almost 2 years together.  

•  Who we are, why we chose intentional community and senior cohousing in particular for this stage of our life.

• What we’ve learned about living interdependently …so far, 

•  What’s happening in Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood?  and the resources of nearby Fruitvale and Alameda.

•  How we use our commons spaces; tour of the common house and typical homes

•  Opportunities with our new visitor/rental program – “try before you buy” or lease-to-own options.

• Refreshments and light nibbles provided!

The event is free and open to all ages, but please do RSVP at East Bay Cohousing so Angela, Kate, and the other community members can plan to welcome you!

For more background:

December 19, 2015: Weekend Tours of Phoenix Commons Now Scheduled!

Due to popular demand, we have scheduled tours of the new building on the morning of Saturday, December 19, 2015. Guided tours of the building will start at 9:00 am and continue at half-hour intervals until noon. Visitors will explore the ample common areas, see a variety of available units, and meet some of their future neighbors! Please RSVP by phone (510-217-8527) or email:

Friday, June 19, 2015: Open House

We know you are interested in the opportunity to join the Bay Area’s first senior cohousing community, so come join us this Friday, June 19th, from 4 to 6 pm for a Phoenix Commons Open House! Community members and development staff will be on hand to answer your questions, and walking tours of the construction site and surrounding neighborhood (Jingletown) will be available. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided by Phoenix Commons.

To RSVP for our Open House and for the address of the meeting location, please contact us at or call (510) 217-8527. We look forward to seeing you there!

PC June 19 Flyer

Don’t Miss Our First Open House for Phoenix Commons!

Save the date for Saturday, May 30th, for our very first open house! Come and meet the community members and development team, learn more about the building design and how it encourages a cohousing lifestyle, and take a guided tour of the construction site. Food and refreshments will be provided by Phoenix Commons. To RSVP and find out the meeting location, contact us at or call 510-217-8527.

Come find out what sets us apart from every other 55+ community in the Bay Area!

Click here for event flyer


PC May 30 Flyer

Boomers From Around the Nation (and the World) Building Community in Oakland

As the first senior cohousing community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix Commons is attracting members from other parts of California, the United States, and even from overseas! Most of them are planning to relocate to the Bay Area in order to be closer to family; all of them are drawn to Phoenix Commons for its unique community culture, state-of-the-art design and convenient, walkable location.

Those of you who have been following Phoenix Commons know about our commitment to education and conscious aging. All community members complete the Aging Boldly in Community (ABC) workshop series presented by our nonprofit partner, Elders Village. Now, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, they can attend the workshops virtually via webcam!

Our first virtual ABC workshop was held yesterday and was a huge success. Participants joined in from Southern California, the Sierras, the East Coast, and even the Middle East! Much of the discussion focused on the demographics of our aging society and the changing nature of retirement. (For an excellent, 5-minute video exploring the implications of an aging society, check out Coming of Age in Aging America.)

It is so inspiring to see Baby Boomers embrace their “Third Age” and join together intentionally to create an environment that will support their independence and social connection in the coming years. The senior cohousing movement is still in its infancy in the United States, but it is growing rapidly and it’s exciting to be at the forefront!

Saturday, August 16, 2014: Meet Our Members Across the Bay Area

As exciting as it is to see the physical construction of Phoenix Commons, the true heart of the community is its members. With over 34% of the future households already signed up, we have quite a few members on board and they’re making their presence known! In addition to business meetings, committee meetings, and a monthly social, members of Phoenix Commons are often present at Bay Area fairs and meetups dedicated to healthy aging in community. They contribute their time and energy, not just to promote Phoenix Commons, but also to just talk to folks in general about the benefits of aging in an intentional community and to make connections with like-minded peers in the region.

This coming Saturday, August 16th, Phoenix Commons will have its own table at the 6th Annual Lamorinda Aging Symposium, held at the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church from 8 am to noon. Admission is free, so come and learn more about the Bay Area’s most exciting senior housing project from the folks who could be your future neighbors!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: Learn About the Simple Strategies for Moving and Downsizing

Moving On With Your Life: Simple Strategies for Moving and Downsizing

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 1:00-2:00 pm

at the Alameda Free Library

1550 Oak St. Alameda


Come to a free seminar featuring Lisbeth “Lis” McKinley, M.A., Certified Professional Organizer and owner of LET’S MAKE ROOM,  a residential organizing and move management company. This informative talk is geared for homeowners, seniors and their families.  You will learn simple strategies for planning, preparing, getting organized and getting through the move, while minimizing the stress and avoiding unnecessary expense.

Do you have a plan? Do you know what to expect? Do you know how to hire a qualified mover?

Find the answers to these questions and many others as we explore life’s most stressful events. The day you start planning to move shouldn’t be the day you start packing. ​

Peet’s coffee and refreshments will be provided.

RSVP, or if you have questions about the seminar series, please contact Samantha at 510-217-8527 or email
The Elders Village Talks series is our FREE, educational seminars on topics we believe to be of importance or interest to seniors, as well as to their friends and families.

E.V. Talks downsizing 08.20.2014