Marianne Kilkenny works each day to fulfill her dream – a world where people can age in grace, dignity and peace surrounded by friends, family and community.
Combining more than 25 years experience working in corporate, Marianne relocated to Asheville, NC and took the first step toward realizing her dream when she founded Women for Living in Community (WLIC) in 2007. Since that time, WLIC has grown from an online website to a complete network of individuals, families, groups and professionals, which focuses on the power of women as advocates and leaders for alternative housing choices.
Marianne became an accidental spokesperson for Boomer women when she was dubbed by NBC as “the real life Golden Girls,” a trend of Boomer women living in shared housing, which is one form of Aging in Community she advocates. As a spokesperson, she is regularly interviewed by the media and in countless articles and publications. She gladly shares her experience to those willing to listen. But it’s more than that as she will tell you time and time again.
“Aging in Community is more than shared housing. It’s refocusing our outlook on aging from one that is medical and healthcare-centric to one that focuses upon community. Wellbeing is more than healthcare; it’s emotional care and that kind of care comes from being surrounded by people we know, love and trust, not just by nurses and planned activities.”
As part of her outreach Marianne formed the Asheville Meetup Chapter of Women for Living in Community. She speaks to groups and organizations both locally and nationally about the financial, emotional and practical aspects of shared housing and Aging in Community.
Due to the great interest expressed by people of all walks of life, Marianne put her lessons in an easy to use, practical guidebook, Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for Your Later Years. To keep in touch with readers and the network, she maintains a blog where she provides information, resources and just funny stuff about Aging in Community.
And, somewhere between trying to maintain a workout schedule and being ruled by her cats, she consults and trains groups and professionals on developing alternative models for Aging in Community. Years of speaking and networking have proven one thing to Marianne – there is a real need and real desire for an alternative model to aging. Marianne’s dream has become her reality. Her vision begins the next chapter of her life; turning her lessons and experience into a new, adaptable model for Aging in Community.