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.

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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.

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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.

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! [Read more…]

My Journey

“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.” Margaret Mead

I come home from a long trip to the West Coast exhausted from the time change and the joys of current air travel. As I turn into my driveway, I see my lights are on in my house and the shades are drawn. What a welcome sight for a woman living alone. I’m expected; someone is welcoming me home.

It is my neighbor, Ginny, who has been taking care of the house and my two cats while I visited distant states in my campaign to tout the glories of living in community. In the last 4 years I have encouraged, cajoled, and nudged my fellow Boomers to investigate new ways of spending our lives as we move forward into its second half. [Read more…]

How to share our lives

“Let’s Get Physical”   (Remember the song?)

When we think of community and living IN community one of the first questions asked is? What will it look like?

Through my many years of looking for “my community” I researched, visited sites all over the country, hours on the web, books, seminars,  probing, questioning and soul searching.  Then there were some pretty stupid and costly “lessons” too. You might have to hear about those in person.  I wish I had this book with all it’s wise checklists to guide me along the way back then.

Here is another part of the a checklist from The Sharing Solution by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow.  You can get it for free at http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/sharing-book.html.  Check out other resources like this one at  https://www.womenlivingincommunity.com/resources/books/.

A morsel for you from their wonderful book: [Read more…]

How to share?

This week a celebrity came to Asheville, NC, my home town.  She’s a lawyer and she wrote a book that everyone should own.  The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplicify Your Life & Build Community. The title says is all. Who wouldn’t want to own this book?
We all could share better. We were supposed to learn it long ago as children.  I guess we forgot. I sure did.  Now I am learning. [Read more…]

6 Tips for Finding Others to Share Housing

A large number of you wanted to know how to find others who might be interested in a shared housing experience. I thought I would give you a few pointers about that from my experiences.  The journey starts with you:

TIP #1:   Start by answering a few important questions.  

Why does this resonate with you?
What appeals to you? Look inside you.
The big question is. Why do I want to live in a shared house?
Then start moving outside of yourself to see who else might be in your tribe or your social web who is interested too. [Read more…]

NBC Nightly News- After Thoughts

It’s been a wild and wonderful ride since last Saturday’s show on NBC Nightly News Weekend edition. It started out with a call on my cell phone a man, Tranh Tran,  with a very sexy voice, saying he was with NBC and would like to talk to me about the possibility of featuring something about the growing trend of Boomer women sharing houses.  He had found my name in various places in his Google search. [Read more…]

Women For Living in Community