Welcome to Women For Living in Community

Welcome to my website.

If you’re new here or it has been a while since you’ve visited you’re probably wondering who I am and why I have a website for women living in community. Let me share my story with you.

After 30 years of working in Silicon Valley I decided I needed to make a drastic change. I had watched my own parents age and eventually move into nursing homes and as I cared for them I knew this was not the way I wanted to live the last third of my life. Divorced without children, I knew that if changes were going to happen I needed to be the one in control.

I moved from Northern California to Asheville, North Carolina, with the intention of promoting community living for women like myself. Asheville, if you don’t know it, is a gorgeous town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. The city’s energy is a blend of many kinds of people coming together. Community-building is a big part of the area’s identity so I knew it was the perfect place to settle and live my own vision to champion alternative housing choices for Boomers, especially women, who want to experience camaraderie, connection and confidence in their later years.

The progressive nature of Asheville coupled with it being a retirement destination in a naturally beautiful setting  made it possible for this Californian to settle to reinvent herself in NC.  There are many retirees here.

I live in community.

Click below for more of my story.

I have experimented with community living options including owning my own home, renting to others, living in proximity, and renting living space from others. The possibilities are infinite.

As I began this journey I met so many other women who were looking ahead with the same vision. From 2007 until now I have presented workshops and conferences locally for women who wanted to experience community living. Bringing over small and some groups over 100 women together to discuss our futures they were a huge success each time. The local Asheville Meet Up has over 270 members. As I continued to work within the community hosting potlucks, seminars, and conferences, the national media started to take notice. NBC NIghtly News came to meet and interview me in November of 2011, The NY Times in September of 2012 and AARP is planning a feature in the June Bulletin 2013, often times from finding my website activity. I want to be a spokesperson for this new way of thinking and I would love for you to join me on my own journey and share experiences of your own.

Why do I do it?

As I live in community with others I learn a lot about myself. Other women become the polish to help me shine my rough edges. I want to stay active and engaged as I age and the women I meet express great interest in this kind of connection and growth.

For thousands of years our elders were cared for in our communities; it is time to honor our crones again.  

What are the benefits of Community living?

There are more than I can list here and as time goes on I hope to explore more of them in detail here on the blog. Here are some of the ways that community living can improve our experiences.

  • Safety and Security

  • Financial Freedom and Independence

  • Shared care of our animal companions

  • Fellowship and relationship building

  • Sharing resources

  • Aging in Community

  • Belonging

  • Living lighter on the earth

Think about these benefits as you consider what the next phase of your life will look like. Join me on this journey as I share my stories, ideas, and dreams with you.

Comments

  1. My thanks goes out to you Marianne for having the vision and wisdom to actively pursue this very timely need in our communities. Similar to you, I am divorced and also do not have children, so the Fear of Becoming a Bag Lady has crossed my mind and I cracked up when I came across this topic on your website.
    I live in the greater Denver metro area and have successfully rented out rooms in my home since 2008. Primarily it has been to folks transitioning from divorced to single life who needed a landing pad for a few months.
    I love the idea of more of a Golden Girls type arrangement where a sense of community is sought out, created and fostered. I learned about you in the article in the recent AARP Bulletin and am so glad I decided to take the time to read it.
    Please let me know if there is a way to connect with other women in my area who are seeking this kind of living arrangement.
    Keep up the Good Work!!

    • Hi Rhonda,
      Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. It’s been a long road and I am so glad that the media has assisted me in getting this very important trend out farther than I ever could have!! Part of my role is to connect those doing great things in this area with those of you who are interested.
      I had hoped by now to have a forum and membership part of my website up by now, so you could connect with others in your area. Not quite yet. Stay tuned.

      Would love to know some of your experiences with your shared house since you have been doing it for some time. I noticed the “successfully” part of your message. Good for you. Love to know more about that too. My plan is to continue my blogs which you will get if you subscribed to my website. That is the best way to see new things and recommendations that I have for resources and news.

      As far as finding others- 2 places for right now before I get my site functioning is the Let’s Share Housing site http://www.letssharehousing.com/ in the article and newly out the Golden Girls Network http://goldengirlsnetwork.org/ who are doing some programs that might be of interest and soon a database. When my workbook is finished I plan on offering workshops and what I call “Kick Off Days” that will focus women to this idea. I will be looking for local coordinators and movers and shakers to assist with that. Might that be of interest to you???
      Denver is ready. It just needs a little nudge!
      Marianne

  2. Kathleen Deragon says:

    I am so glad you are there as a clear voice and advocate–and soon to be connector– for we boomer women considering our future housing and well-being. Making visible the issue of what older single women might be able to do to care for one another, especially if they live under the same roof, is so important right now. If we wait too long, we may not be well enough to move ahead with those kinds of plans. So, yes, let’s actively explore possibilities and share stories!

    • Yes, Kathleen it is often up to us, as women to pioneer the new adventures and paths as we Boomers have done through a few other movements so far. Remember those ladies??? Caring for one another is truly a gift and not a burden when we can put some foundation in place. That is what I am doing with the help of others, like you, Kathleen to provide resources and information for us. Then we can make this happen for us and those who come behind us. Share your story of success and that pioneering spirit.

      Marianne

  3. Merikay Anderson says:

    Thoughts & dreams of learning how to get started forming a “Women for Living in Community” here in Omaha, NE, have been swirling around in my mind since I saw a beautiful site on a lake right here in Nebraska. I always thought I would want to move to a warmer climate to retire; but when Omaha continues to be in the top 10 for best communities to live in…I am wondering why I would want to leave! Shared housing in retirement would hopefully leave me with enough money to go “warm” for a month or so.
    I am very interested in becoming a mover & shaker for the Midwest! Sign me up!

    • Hi Merikday,
      We do need women all over the country to be the movers and shakers to get this thing moving along. What are your next steps? Stay tuned for our blogs about finding others and also the Resources and Books and blog sites coming forward to provide information and connection. My workbook is scheduled to come out in the Fall. Do you have your place and people in mind?

      With great regard and hope,
      Marianne

  4. I have hit that place of where do I go…and where can I afford to live. Sixty years old, house sold due to divorce….don’t want to live with my children; love them but omg…and don’t want to live on the money I just got as I have no real retirement to speak of. (I worked for years managing my husband’s/our construction company – so no 401k and much of my IRA’s were cashed in when the cash flow was questionable) So I have bounced around working my way back up the employment ladder..teacher’s assistant, special services at Home Depot, and now I am finance officer at an elementary school. Looking at more options with my education and experience. Living with a friend who is 10 years younger….we get along, dogs get along, food and coffee not an issue….She is finishing her master’s degree and just doesn’t want a room mate. I do not want to live in a dump just because it’s cheaper. Was tired of handling all the household chores alone, yard work, painting, replacing appliances…I could possibly buy but I do like the idea of being around people. I read a lot, do yoga, love films… like tonight I’d like to go to a Blues Concert…. but in a small town it is awkward to go
    alone…Need to meet people of like minds. I do live in North Carolina—Outer Banks, very expensive and few options to live and socialize. Have in mind to move to Raleigh, charlotte, or even Asheville. Have a sister who lives there…How do I find women that want to share spaces.
    Marty

Women For Living in Community