I’ve Moved! Why and what does this mean for WLIC?

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Welcome to my house!

NOTE: This is Part 1 of My Journey update. Part 2 coming next week.

I’ve moved!

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. I’ve explored many opportunities, some that came to me and some that I sought out.  I reviewed each of them but for one reason or another, they didn’t seem to fit or be the right thing at the right moment.

What about this move made it the right thing to do and how does my move fit in with Women for Living in Community? After all, a big part of my story has been my shared housing arrangement that I’ve been living in for the last 4 years, often referred to as the “Golden Girl” lifestyle.  (Click here for related blogs about ‘Golden Girls’ style living)

What I am doing now is expanding the shared housing concept in a mini-pocket neighborhood.

Shared housing is a very important and a viable, wonderful, life fulfilling learning experience for anyone who is seeking a better way of living as we age.  A mini-pocket neighborhood is an expansion of the shared housing concept. Imagine if the Golden Girls ladies lived in a neighborhood made up of other shared housing homes.  That’s what I am in the process of developing for myself.

My shared mini-pocket neighborhood

My new home and land are a perfect setting for me to take in housemates (I will have a part-time housemate for now).  I will also be sharing a larger piece of property and another house with a friend, essentially creating a mini-pocket neighborhood.  Already, opportunities are expanding.  There is another house on the property who is interested in possibly living as a mini-pocket neighborhood. Hope, hope,….

Will this be my last move?

Since moving to Asheville and launching Women for Living in Community, I have moved 7 times.  My moving has, in a way, been “on the job” training for me as I have explored various alternatives to living in community in order to find the right one. (Sure has given me good stories for my talks too!) I have learned something new about myself and the types of arrangements – all lessons I have shared with you and the Women for Living in Community network. While I hope this is it, I cannot say what the future holds. This move actually signals another important change and development in my life.

A Look Back: Over the Years slideshow:


The Next Chapter

In many ways this move has also signaled a turning point for Women for Living in Community.  More on that in Part 2 of My Journey update.

The 5 Biggies in Community

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When I teach workshops about building community I make sure I talk about some of the small details that can turn into huge problems. Many people don’t even think of these things when they are getting started. These can destroy friendships and even marriages. And when it comes to living with housemates you may not know well these small problems can easily become amplified. If you’re considering sharing a single household with several other people here are the 5 biggies that you should consider.

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The Blessings of Housemates: When Community Becomes More

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Just over a month ago, on July 11th, the article in the New York Times was published. I spent the weekend basking in the glow of the new attention being paid to the Women for Living in Community movement.

But that all changed on Monday.

I woke up to neck and arm pain so excruciating, I immediately thought it may be a stroke or heart attack. My pain was similar to the warning signs of women in my age group. The more I writhed around on the floor in intense pain the more I realized that I needed help. Because of my shared household, help was only 5 feet away in our common kitchen where my housemate was standing.

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Expensive Cities Can Be More Affordable in Groups

Image by Anne Fitten Glenn via Flickr

Image by Anne Fitten Glenn via Flickr

Recently, my city of Asheville was listed in a Yahoo Finance article about the 10 cities where ordinary people can no longer afford homes. There are major changes in the real estate market, especially considering that just a few short years ago individual home owners weren’t able to sell their homes without taking a loss or needing to consider a short sale. It just goes to show how quickly things change.

While the article talks about the increasing mortgage rates across the United States it doesn’t seem to indicate the other factors that make these particular cities less affordable. Could it be pay inequality or the higher cost of living? In any case, it may be time to reconsider the way American’s buy homes in the first place.

I have a radical idea for individuals who want to buy homes in these areas: Community Living.

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Sharing Resources: Using a Time Bank in Your Household

Have you ever heard of a Time Bank?

Many communities are establishing formal time banks. At this year’s Ignite Asheville event, speaker Thomas Beckett shared some information on the concept.

The idea is pretty simple. You exchange your skills and time for other people’s skills and time. And what better way to implement this than within your community living environment.

Many of the resources you will read when it comes to time banks are about a formal establishment; however, bartering your time with that of your housemates doesn’t have to be any more formal than a verbal agreement. Consider these ways to create a time bank in your home.

Click below to read some the ways you can make this happen.

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Community Care Givers: Caring for Each Other as We Age

Cancer. Alzheimer’s disease. Heart disease. These are just a few of the things that we may face as we age. We don’t like to think about our own mortality and the things that can affect us, but it is important to have a plan in place if something does happen, not only for ourselves but also for those we care about.

I believe that living in community is a better solution than nursing homes or other forms of elder care.

Our culture tends to perceive caregivers as individuals who care for sick or dying family members. Mothers can care for children with terminal illnesses. Daughters can care for their parents stricken by dementia. Some elder women don’t have anyone to care for them at all. What if we came together to care for each other? We can change the perception of caregivers.

photo credit: Rosie O’Beirne via photopin cc

Click below to read more ideas about caretakers living in community.

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Settling Conflict in Community Living

photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie via photopin cc

It is important to understand that even with all the benefits of community living, it isn’t always a bed of roses. Conflict between adults happens, even in marriages and between friends. When it comes to living in community it is important to have a peace plan in place to settle conflict respectfully. It can be difficult to separate yourself from the situation because you and your housemates are more than just acquaintances or roommates.  Here are some ideas for dealing with conflict between women living in community.

  • Establish house rules. There are many resources available for designing roommate agreements on line. Use these and talk with your housemates to create a set of rules that will not restrict anyone’s personal freedom but will keep the home safe and orderly. For example, there may be rules about visitors, laundry, cooking, and quiet time. Many of these are common sense but having rules in writing from the beginning is important for dealing with future issues.

Click below to read more.

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Rent or Buy: The Smart Science of Pooling Resources

“Been thinking, if we pooled our financial resources, we could move here, live here year-round.” Hannah held her breath and waited for their reactions.

I’ve been thinking the much the same.” Amelia leaned forward in chair. Aghast, Grace looked at each of her friends in turn. “What is next? I can’t handle any more changes.”

Hannah turned to her. “Let me ask you, Grace, what does Olive Pruitt do for us that we can’t do for ourselves, and for each other? We can even dial 911, imagine that.”

“By pooling our finances, we could live nicely here.”

“Here we could share food, electric, gas repairs, lawn, maintenance, things like that.”

Springing from her chair, Grace flung her arms into the air. “I barely adjust to one thing and you two want to go even farther. There is too much for me. Too many changes!”

“You are tougher, more adaptable than you think,” Hannah retorted. “Things are different now; you won your own life. Time you initiated change.”

“What do you really want, Grace? What is right for you? The three of us sharing a home, helping one another seems very right to me.”

Grace admitted that she subconsciously had been thinking about this idea too.

Amelia hugged Grace, and uncharacteristically Hannah reached out her arms to hug both Amelia and Grace. They no longer felt like three women of a certain age concerned with aching hip, tenuous heart, or a fear of being alone. They were pioneers, driven by hopes and dreams; they were visionaries with sweeping goals.”

Excerpt from “Ladies of Covington Send Their Love” by Joan Medlicott

We all know that sharing a living space can save us money, so why don’t more people do it? American culture often encourages college age students to share housing to pool resources and save money, so it makes sense that the concept can be applied throughout our lives. Boomer women have a chance to blaze a new trail and create communities of women living together. So let’s look at what women can accomplish by pooling their resources.

Click below to read more.

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Women for Living in Community Featured in New York Times Article

Shared Housing has hit the big time! Yesterday, the work I have been doing for the past six years was featured in an article in The New York Times. Times staff writer Phyllis Korkki described the growing challenges of housing and aging when you don’t have family and friends nearby as you get older.

Phyllis interviewed me for the story and her piece highlighted how the Women for Living in Community Network “encourages the creation of networks that enable older people — mainly women, but also men, as her own example shows — to share housing.”

The article entitled “Childless and Aging? Time to Designate a Caregiver” goes on to explain how people can have the companionship we need in later years by creating shared housing arrangements. The photo (pictured right)  captured one of our household’s weekly meeting.

Read the entire piece where I am featured in the last four paragraphs of the article.

Are you a Good Fit for a Golden Girls Home? Part 2

The four women and one man who share this Golden Girls-like home enjoy regular meals together.

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about the Golden Girls-like home (named after the TV series) where Boomer Women share a house and live together under the same roof. This house-based intentional community has many benefits, including personal privacy, companionship, and reduced daily expenses. On the financial side, you share the rent or mortgage payment, house maintenance and upkeep of common spaces, such as the kitchen, living and dining areas.

As a Boomer Woman, what personal characteristics do you need to successfully live in a shared home? To give you a quick overview, please see me in this one-minute video.

If you’re considering creating or joining a shared household, here are five personality traits to help you determine if you’re a good fit. These insights come from my personal five-year journey to create the Golden Girls-like home I now live in in Asheville, North Carolina and to help reduce the time it takes you to find an ideal housing arrangement for the next chapter of your life.

You’re Social – Enjoy Connecting with People
To successfully live with housemates, you need to enjoy spending time with others. Sharing a home, especially as an adult, requires lots of interaction – both spontaneous and planned – with your housemates. It’s not that you need to be an extravert but, if you are an introvert, you are comfortable having daily contact with housemates.

You Like Living in Close Proximity with Others
Will you feel comfortable being seen when you come out of the shower wrapped in your towel or robe? Can you tolerate someone saying hello before you’ve had your first cup of coffee? Depending on the design of the home and the location of bedrooms and bathrooms, you may be interacting with your housemates first thing in the morning or throughout the day. Ask yourself, “How much privacy do I need?” Will you feel “surrounded” by housemates or will you enjoy the company of sharing a kitchen and dining area with others? If you like having people around when you cook, then this lifestyle may work for you.

You’re Flexible
When considering sharing a home with other Boomer adults, it’s important to be flexible. People and circumstances change, sometimes with little advance notice. If you’re someone who can flow with the small and large changes in people’s lives – from lost keys to lost jobs – the better your chances of successfully living with others.

You’re Tolerant of Someone Using/Borrowing Your Things
Living in a shared home, almost by definition, requires a higher level of sharing. It’s inevitable that items like kitchen tools, books and other personal items will end up being used (and sometimes broken) by housemates. Your level of comfort around sharing your things will contribute significantly to your success in this housing arrangement. Saying what’s important to you and establishing boundaries can go a long way to making a shared home work after you move in.

You’re a Strong Communicator & Good Listener
Many issues come up when you’re living in a “Golden Girls-like Home.” You’ll be dealing with use of community spaces, finances, guests, activities, pets, standards of cleanliness and more. To successfully navigate through all these conversations and make sound group decisions requires clearly expressing your personal preferences and hearing the needs of your housemates.

A document that our household has found helpful is the Blue Print of We document available on the Resources page of my website.

Finding your ideal housemates and setting clear boundaries about how you want to live together is one of the workshops I offer. Please contact me if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation.

Women For Living in Community