Commune for Seniors Goes Beyond Materialism

The Fellowship Community’s adult home offers a wealth of opportunities for an aging population looking for an alternative to traditional assisted living retirement.


Located in Chesnut Ridge, New York, bordering New Jersey, and only 30 miles from Manhattan, the commune-like setting maintains a farm, a dairy barn with 10 cows, a candle shop, a print shop, a metal shop, a wood shop, and a pottery studio.

ABCNews describes the community as a collection of about 130 men, women and children. Founded in 1966 it's a setting for seniors and aging baby boomers.

A Part of Life - Birth and Death

Administrator Ann Scharff told ABCNews: "We provide a space in which people can prepare to die in a way that is accepted and nourishing to them and fraught with meaning.” Scharff added “it’s not something you run away from, but it’s part of the whole spectrum of life, just as birth is part of life and is prepared for.”

The commune is based on Rudolf Steiner's principles of anthroposophy centered on inner development for those who wish to bring their inner work to benefit the wider world. Some residents enter The Fellowship with a firm grasp of Steiner's philosophy; others learn it over time.

Going Beyond Materialism

Helpers assist the elderly with meals, bathing, and medication. Rather than expecting to being catered-to residents, the seniors help maintain the grounds, do farm work and contribute to the commune's sustainability.

Will Bosch, head of the community's board of trustees told ABCNews, "Communal life and work appeals to people who are dismayed with the materialism of the world and are trying to get above it."