Pop-Culture Women in Community

Women living in community is not a new concept. It is also one that Hollywood and other pop culture outlets have used as a plot point and theme for some time. I thought I might share some examples from TV, film, and in books of women living in community that can make us smile when we think about women living in community.

  • The Golden Girls. This is the gold standard, no pun intended, when it comes to fictional women sharing a home and building community. This 80s sitcom was a turning point in the way our culture viewed aging women. Each character fit a stereotype. Blanche the very dichotomy of a southern belle combined with a sexually free mature woman. Rose was the simple Midwestern girl who was surprisingly wise. Dorothy had the New York street smarts and quick wit. Sophia held the role of the Italian matriarch who taught her daughter a few things.

Click below to read more examples of fictional women living in community.

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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…]

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…]

Golden Girls plus one – My move to Shared Housing

Reflections of my move to my shared housing in Asheville, NC

Most moves, especially in a short amount of space, take a toll emotionally, spiritually and physically on me. This one feels so different. Why? Because I am in the place with the people in a way that feels right for me now.

I have said to anyone who would listen, that I wanted to live like the Golden Girls for the last 20 plus years. The laughter, zest for life and camaraderie really has called to me. So much so that I have encouraged others with workshops and my work on Women FOR Living in Community.

How this wonderful arrangement came about is one of the parts of the story. While I was doing “my work” and sharing my passions with women at the workshops and other related work  I was also looking for my tribe, those who I would want to live with. [Read more…]

Welcome!

Welcome !

I am Marianne Kilkenny and I have been interested in aging in community for many years. In particular, living like the Golden Girls is the best way to describe what I have in mind. A place that provided camaraderie, zest for life and laughter that was always present in their home together.

Living in community, THE solution to the challenges and isolation of aging today.

My interest is to bring Boomer women together to bond and form connections together. You might see a theme, it’s about not waiting, but to take action now.   As women, we are the ones who bring others together so it’s time now to build alliances that will give us new models to thrive in as our lives move forward into our 2nd Half of life. Whether you live with other women, your family of friends, your extended family, it’s about making it happen.

Many of us have talked about getting together and buying a big house, or sharing a space, building or retrofitting a neighborhood, or doing more than just talking about getting to know our neighbors.

The time is now. Please join us. I would love to hear what you are dreaming about, doing to build this vision into reality. We can learn from each other to form a future that encourages interdependence and trust. [Read more…]

Women For Living in Community