Happy Holidays from Women for Living in Community

“In and through community lies the salvation of the world” – Scott Peck from The Different Drum

Image by youngthousands via Flickr

Image by youngthousands via Flickr

Whatever you celebrate, we want to wish you a beautiful season and a happy New Year. This is always a great time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you might want to go. This holiday season, make community a part of your reflection. How do you see community building and living in your life next year?

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.Les Brown

Image by Phil Campbell via Flickr

Image by Phil Campbell via Flickr

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Women for Living in Community!

An Example for the Next Generation: What Boomer Women can Teach Millennials

photo credit: moodboardphotography via photopin cc

In the corporate world everyone is talking about the wave of Generation Y entering the workforce. Apparently, in the coming years these Millennials will overtake Boomers as the largest working population. There is a huge buzz surrounding the ways our generation and Gen X are supposed to learn to work with and manage Gen Y.

However, I think there may be some more important things that we can learn from each other.

At one time, Baby Boomers were in the very same position as Millennials. We entered the workforce en masse, especially women in our generation, and changed the way the corporate world works. Now that many of us are facing retirement we are looking at ways to change the way the aging population lives.

So what can Millennials learn from us? Plenty, as it turns out.

  • We can teach them about principles. The Millennials are a generation that relies on Google to be part of their collective memory. This is absolutely fantastic and using the tools available is important for both generations. However, Boomers can teach Gen Y a thing or two about principles. Millennials want straight answers and immediate feedback and they can learn from our generation about how to apply those to their jobs and ultimately their lives after employment.

I encourage you to click below to read more about how we can work together for the future.

[Read more…]

Happy Halloween from The Grand Nudge

Seems like this time of year, Halloween, brings out my best side—

Well some people don’t see it that way. (Ex-husbands, lovers, and past co-workers mainly… as you might imagine.)

The Grand Nudge

The nicest adjective was direct; to the point…some might call it a little evil or even witchy

See, Halloween is the one time of the year I don’t have to hide my alter ego. She can join the party loud and proud and very direct.

Meet The Grand Nudge:

Ahem!

So what is taking you soooooo long to get going?

You’ve been talking about this living in community thing for a LONG time, in some form or another.

“Someday…when I get older…”

Guess what? You can’t escape the inevitable. You’re getting older every day! It isn’t something that is going to happen SOMEDAY! It is happening right now!

Are you scared to keep reading! Click below to hear more of what I have to say…if you dare!

[Read more…]

Beyond Age: Multigenerational Living

My primary focus has always been on women developing community to support each other as we age. Much of this comes from my own perspective as a baby boomer living in shared housing with other women near my own age range.

It seems that multi-generational living is currently on the rise. Many factors are contributing to this trend. Adult children are moving back in with their parents in record numbers. Economic realities make shared living situations more affordable for all family members. A generation of aging boomers who saw their parents hidden away in nursing homes is looking for alternatives.

Can families, whether chosen or by blood, foster community that disregards age and creates a situation for graceful aging?

In August of 2012, the AARP blog shared a two part post about the rise of multi-generational living. They shared some important tips on multi-generational families that I think are crucial to consider before establishing a household.

Click below to read more.

[Read more…]

“Who Will Take Care of You?” Learning to Rely on Each Other

Women For Living in Community is about being self-sufficient and self-reliant as we age but the key word there is “Community.” I believe women can be stronger together and we can help each other in ways we may not expect.

In 2012, 37 million American women between the ages of 30 and 84 are childfree by choice or by chance. For generations in cultures around the world it was expected that children would take care of their aging parents. The reality in our country is that many seniors are hidden away in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, even those with children.

There are alternatives.

When we ask the question “Who will take care of you?” what answer are we looking for? Is it possible that we are asking the wrong question altogether?

Click below to read more about community living as we age.

[Read more…]

Are You a Good Fit for a Cohousing Community?

Cohousing neighborhoods are intentionally designed to make connecting with your neighbors easy.

In my last blog, I wrote about five personal traits that, if you have most or all of them, you’re probably a good fit for a Golden Girls-like home. However, living in a house where you share a kitchen, living room and dining space is for some too close for comfort.

If you’re wanting more community in your living arrangement as you look at the years ahead, but need more personal space than living in a shared house, an intentional neighborhood may be the right choice for you.

In this blog, I’ll discuss cohousing neighborhoods. In Cohousing communities residents own their own home and share common spaces and resources. Interestingly, these intentional communities are created by the future resident group who meet each other and work together to decide about the physical design and social agreements of the neighborhood. In many cases, future residents become friends by the time they move-in into the neighborhood.

These collaborative communities are typically between 25 to 35 households, and are home to more than 6,000 people in North America. They are popular because they provide a healthy balance between privacy and community. I know many people who live in cohousing who come from a range of backgrounds, ages and economic situations. They consistently love the lifestyle which they describe as safe, nurturing and FUN.

Spontaneous social gatherings are frequent in cohousing. Kathryn McCamant, one of the co-founders of the Cohousing movement and co-author of the book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, says:
“I know I live in a community, because on Friday afternoons, it sometimes takes me 45 minutes, two drinks, and three conversations to get from the street to my front door.’

According to the Cohousing Association of the U.S., cohousing communities have six defining characteristics:
1. Participatory process;
2. Neighborhood design;
3. Common facilities;
4. Resident management;
5. Shared leadership and decision-making;
6. No shared community economy.

This lifestyle has many benefits for Boomers. Residents enjoy an intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive environment ideal for aging at home in a non-institutional setting. Cohousing residents have privacy when they’re in their private home, and community when they venture outside to the shared common spaces, including common dinners several times a week in the community’s well-used club house or “Common House.”
One of the newer trends in cohousing are elder/senior cohousing neighborhoods designed with Universal Design features to accommodate residents to age comfortably in their homes.

Please contact me if you want to know more about this multi-generational or senior cohousing trend or cohousing in general. In my next blog, I’ll share the characteristics that are most important for living in these socially and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.

Community . . . what does it mean to you?

COMMUNITY

Such good is gleaned by like minds and interests coming together.
We are at our best when we serve a common cause.
We are inspired and moved by individuals whose interests are similar to ours.
A group manifests a group mind.
Just as “many hands make light work”, many minds make for a more creative vision
Now that we are elders, we relish community more than at any other time of life.
Whatever your interests, services, or spiritual needs, stay connected.
Gather together.

~  From a deck of fabulous and inspirational cards called Crone cards.    

My favorite crone . . . Betty White.

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…]

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…]

Perks! A Day in the life of a shared houser

 No coffee today!

 What a way to start the day! Got a bad cold and laryngitis too! Poor me. But wait ! There is a knock at my door. S. shows up to apologize for slamming the door as she takes out the recycling for pick up. Slam away, at least I don’t have to take it out in the blustery, gray and rainy morning.

 Next I get a hug from S. Joining both G. and S. for coffee is offered in the common kitchen which they share, and I say “Sure!” I didn’t have to make my coffee today. Then on top of that wonderment, I got some scrambled eggs at a table with cloth napkins and some company. Couldn’t even sit and feel sorry for myself this morning.

To add to the festivities of the pre-8am goings-on (is that a Southern term?) a raccoon or some other creature had gotten into the garbage and it was strewn all over the driveway. The thought of going and picking all that up this morning overwhelmed me. Before I had a chance to grab the rubber gloves, (which I did slowly) L. was out there doing the chore of picking up after our 4-legged neighbor. Bless your heart. (Yes, that is Southern expression, I am sure).

Off went G. to give a ride to a friend with instructions to S. NOT to do the dishes. Yes, they do them by hand. I saw my opportunity to give back for the treat I had been given this morning. I did the dishes in their kitchen, as I have my own kitchen in our shared house, and felt GREAT about doing dishes. Maybe I do have a fever. The things that continue to surprise me about living in a shared house with the right folks.

Next is was helping S. off to her 17-day trip to St. Croi (sp?) for her daughter’s wedding. Don’t know that I was much help, but it felt good to try! Off she went in her little bug. It felt good to wave goodbye to her. I know that I love to have someone wave goodbye to me when I am off, especially for a long trip. Makes me feel like I have a family who will know I am gone.

Well, we have that here. A chosen family who looks out for each other, and so many little things that add up to a big feeling of comfort and love.

Who knew? I didn’t but I did dream about it. It’s reality now.

Marianne lives in a shared house in Asheville, North Carolina and inspires others to live in community as a solution to the isolation of living and aging alone. Her primary attention goes to Boomer women like herself.  www.womenlivingincommunity.com

Women For Living in Community