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History of Living Wisdom Village

Elders Creating Community

As often happens in life, conditions change, challenges arise, and we begin to ponder and think about “the future”. In 2009, family illness called Barbara Hoeppner away from Crestone so that she might care for her father who had become very ill. During the month which she spent with her dad, her thoughts focused on aging, living alone and wondering how a caring community could provide options for seniors who wished to remain in this community among friends and neighbors.

Upon her return, Barbara wrote an article in the Crestone Eagle offering a get-together and conversation; twenty-three people gathered for that first meeting and a core group was formed to continue dialogue and planning. 

In 2013 the Board hosted a community presentation of the Living Wisdom Village concept, which was attended by more than 70 residents. Numerous community-wide meetings have been held; surveys have been conducted and focus groups helped the Board identify the needs, issues and desires of our senior population.​​

The Board is strongly influenced by the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, a surgeon, which examines the limitations and failures in how modern medicine for the aging often runs counter to what the aging desire. Being Mortal shows that the ultimate goal for the aging is not a good death, but a good life.


The founding premises of Living Wisdom Village are:

  • That the processes of reflection and wisdom-gleaning that accompany aging – activities that nourish and enrich the life of the community with realization, depth and meaning – can be significantly enhanced by one’s physical and social environment.

  • That the goal that matters most to the elderly, i.e. Quality of Life, is more important than safety and living longer.  It is more important than living a controlled and supervised institutional existence, devoid of the things and people we care most about.

  • That the path of collaboration and partnership with others in all sectors – nonprofit, business, philanthropic, educational and government – offers the best potential for creating an independent community that can fulfill these objectives.

  • That “elderhood” is a time with potential for unparalleled inner growth having evolutionary significance in this era of global transformation.

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