Are You a Good Fit for a “Golden Girls” House?

Are you, like me, one of the millions of Americans who learned about the “Golden Girls” house through the TV show hit and loved the idea? Have you been wondering if you could live in a shared home with close female friends one day?

This blog, part one of a two-part series, will answer what a Golden Girls home offers. I personally know about this subject because I have lived in a Golden Girls-like home in Asheville, North Carolina for two years. However it took me close to six years to create my shared house and I’d like to save you some of the time!

To give you a quick overview of characteristics needed to live in a shared home, here’s a link to a one-minute video from a presentation I gave at the “Creating Community Anywhere” Conference in Sarasota, FL.

Simply put, a Golden Girls house creates an intentional community for female friends around the age of 50 to live together under the same roof. Typically each person has her own private bedroom (and possibly bathroom) while sharing a common kitchen, living and dining area. The benefits of creating a shared living situation are many: companionship, laughs, and the support of women at a similar point in life. Other advantages simply unfold as you live this lifestyle.  

For me, I did not want to live alone anymore. I wanted to age in a community setting. Plus, sharing the house rental made it possible for me and my housemates to live in a more expensive home and neighborhood than any of us could have afforded on our own.

For many of us Boomers, your only shared housing experience to date may have been in college with roommates in a dorm or in a group house off campus. As boomers in this new shared housing model, we are moving from roommates to “housemates” with shared values and needs.

Take a minute to consider if any issues came up from your college days or other experiences in shared living that are useful to consider now? Please jot down any valuable insights.
Remembering the positive aspects of that time and what worked and didn’t can help guide you as you create a current version of a shared with its unique social and financial benefits for Boomer Women. So I ask you: Why age alone when you can age in community? Answering this question is one of the workshops and services I offer in my work with the Women for Living in Community Network.Please check out next week’s blog for specific characteristics about what would make you a good candidate for a Golden Girls Home.

Comments

  1. One of my girlfriends opened her home to me when my husband served me with divorce papers over two years ago. I lived with her for one and a half years. It was very comforting living with her during this time and I did think about continuing to live with her when she offered but I was aware I am not ready just yet to live the Golden Girl lifestyle . Maybe in the future…I am open to the idea. What a wonderful organization you have…there is a need for it. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Liz,
      There are many of us with this idea. The important part is to do it!

      Marianne

  2. I frankly always thought I’d get old and find this type of situation if my marriage ended or I was widowed. Well, my second marriage (14 years long…with 14 years between the first – which lasted 15 years, and the second) just ended amicably enough and I am age 63 and after two failed marriages (one due to his cheating and the other due to his alcohol/prescription drug abuse), I am thinking living with quirky, fun, loving and a bit crazy women (or not) would be a true and welcome change. Who better to house with that a built-in circle of female friends.

    While currently living and working part-time in the Austin, TX area, my heart lies in the Sarasota/Bradenton area where my second daughter and her family live, and which used to be called “home” for several years, when I moved down there to be near my older parents when my first marriage ended. I remember thinking I might return someday and frankly I think this someday is soon…very, very soon.

    I do have to work, as I am on Social Security disability for cancer (in good remission) and do not have retirement of any kind. While currently healthy now for some time, I know the time may come when the caner returns, or the lupus (also in remission) acts up again, but in the meantime, I am well able to work and am doing so now, at a senior community center in Austin. What a cool place for a senior to work!

    I have actually put on ad on Craigslist (Sarasota) and found one woman who sounds like a possible fit, but until I can go and check things out, we have yet to meet. We have been corresponding. She had a bad experience this past year with the Roomie from He__ so she is wary. However, I think we’d fit nicely. Both animal lovers (me with two dogs and one cat and her with two cats and one dog) and we love the beach (I for walking) and both are former Yankees from the north, well we have commonalities already. So..we shall see. I am still open to talking with other possible room-mates also.

    By the way, in case you are wondering…..I am a mix of Rose and Dorothy. Go figure.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jeannie,
      Got the ticket for you. I offered a all day workshop in March 2010 in Sarasota with the cooperation of some fabulous women there. I suggest you join their Meet Up too. http://www.meetup.com/LivinginCommunityNetwork/.
      I also have a local contact if you like for the group. She is currently living in our shared house in Asheville.

      If you do your work, and do some of the things I recommend (See some of the other comments on recommendations) you can avoid the horror stories. That is why I want you to read the books and watch the red flags. Know WHY you are doing this wonderful thing!!

      MK

      • Jeannie says:

        Funny. I just read this and realized that it was MY post. Right now I am regretting not seeing this sooner. When I did leave Texas, I moved north (back to my home state of Michigan) instead of East to FL and am now thinking that it is definitely time to rethink that move and do what I planned to do initially. With that said, I WILL read you book and check this out thoroughly before I just go for it.

        I have a friend in Sarasota that I met after placing a Golden Girl ad on CL 1.5 years ago and she’s had two horrible experiences since we first connected with room-mates that moved in with her and just about destroyed her sanity. PLUS I am living with a favorite female cousin now that I am not liking much as a roommate (nitpicky) and like better as a favorite cousin, so I am wary of the house share situation already. My friend in FL and I will meet when I go down and see how we feel. I think I will direct her to the Sarasota group.

        I actually just did join the Sarasota group myself and will check things out more thoroughly when I go down in May for my granddaughter’s graduation from HS. Thanks again for your response, even if it took this long to read it.

        Jeanne

        • Marianne Kilkenny says:

          Hope it turns out for you. Just liking someone or being a relative is NOT the best way to approach sharing a house and your lives. I find many pieces are left out and there are no accidents. It is a disaster. Part of why my book is a workbook. There is a great deal about what you want and what you need to say no to. The goal is no horror stories to recount. The Sarasota LICN is great. Started after my workshop in 2010. Look forward to hearing your success. It can be amazing!

  3. Janice says:

    I was divorced after 30+ years and have lived alone for 5 years, renting a great condo in an old mill building. It’s very nice, but I also live in a very expensive area and would like to share expenses with a nice, smart woman. I no longer own a house so I’ve thought about how many women have a nice home that has gotten too large and perhaps a bit lonely. I’d have more qualms about living with a friend or relative than meeting a new roommate. It’s an idea I’ve had for some time, but there really isn’t anything proactive in this area that I’ve heard about. I’m 64, work full-time and plan to do so until 66 then work part-time.

    • Marianne Kilkenny says:

      Janice,
      I like your idea of finding the right woman. There is a great deal of advice I could give you about that. Part of why I have a resource page on this site to tell you about all the other folks who can help you with that. Love the Sharing Housing book and website that is very practical for this. Finding other is key and knowing what YOU want. Part of why I put my book in a workbook form so you could fill in as many of the answers as you want. To get you moving on the process rather than just thinking about it. You are on your way.
      Marianne

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