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Thread: Co-housing approach

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Co-housing approach

    Thought that some might find this initiative interesting to read. Senior ladies found that rent was unaffordable for the single senior so posted on Facebook.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...ther-1.5153176

    After her husband died, Pat Dunn had to find herself a new home. The couple had been living on a boat for years but she could not afford it without him. So she moved into a trailer.

    Dunn lives in a trailer park near Lindsay, Ont., five months of the year and finds somewhere else to stay during the rest. The 69-year-old knows she can't keep doing that.

    So she went looking for alternatives, but money and wait lists restricted her. She figured there were other women in her situation. So she started up a Facebook group in February to look for similar roommates. She called it Senior Ladies Living Together.

    "We have to come up with creative solutions and we have to find them ourselves," she said. "I can't wait for the government because I don't know how many years I've got left."


    Though Dunn's Facebook group started as a place for her to find someone to live with, she continues to run it to help others find senior roommates around Ontario. (Haydn Watters/CBC)
    She figured she would get five or 10 replies. By the end of the first week, 58 women were in the group. Now there are 600 seniors from all over Ontario looking for roommates.

    "I knew it was bigger than just the local area and bigger than just me finding ladies to live with."

    According to Stats Canada's 2016 census, 347,805 female seniors in Ontario live alone.

    A group of single senior ladies have taken a unique approach to finding affordable housing ... become roommates! Haydn Watters met with a trio of ladies in Lindsay, Ont., about to make the big move. 4:37
    Alternative to retirement home
    Carolyn Mackenzie and Faye Petherick joined the group early on and became fast friends with Dunn.

    Now the trio is getting ready to move into a home together in Peterborough. They chat online every day and met in person last week to start fleshing out some of the smaller details — cooking, cleaning and doing dishes. They're still looking for a fourth roommate.

    Mackenzie, 69, couldn't believe how closely she relates to many of the women posting in the group.


    Carolyn Mackenzie will be bringing her dog Lucy along too. She was so happy when she found the group. 'Finally there’s some hope.' (Haydn Watters/CBC)
    "Single women on their own have such a hard time making ends meet," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, finally, maybe there is something besides going into a retirement home or a long-term care centre.'"

    Here's what it was like when Dunn first started
    More Golden Girls who are beating the odds of loneliness
    She said the group has given her hope. Petherick agrees. Getting to know all the ladies has made her happy.

    "It's not that I ever thought I was unhappy but I'm realizing I am happier," she said.


    Faye Petherick thought it was a good idea but she did have reservations. She's been single her whole life and hasn't lived with very many people. But meeting the other women alleviated her fears. 'I started to realize, yes, this can work.' (Haydn Watters/CBC)
    Petherick is 68 but continues to work because "rents aren't cheap." She doesn't want to work forever so she thought this would be a good alternative to save some money and socialize a bit more.

    "I also used to love the Golden Girls show," she said, referring to the long-running American TV situation comedy about four elderly women living together.

    "I thought 'Oh, that's interesting. I could be part of our little own little personal Golden Girls.'"

    'The future is right now'
    Though Dunn's Facebook group started as a place for her to find these women, she's decided to keep it going. It's now become a full-time job. And she's swamped.

    Her trailer has become the group's war room.

    She gets up around 5:30 a.m., logs into her computer and then she's on it all day. She figures she puts 12 to 14 hours into the page seven days a week. That time is spent coordinating all the members, leading discussions and helping others find senior roommates around the province.

    "I did not picture ever feeling [this] kind of excitement again to be frank. This experience of the group and meeting people the way I have has changed my life," she said.


    Dunn has been hearing from women around the province who say they are laughing for the first time in years. 'Breaks your heart but then I think to myself I hadn’t laughed in years either.' (Haydn Watters/CBC)
    With page's growth, she's worried ladies aren't getting what they joined for. Dunn admits this living model could be trickier in small towns without the population — or communities where rents are more expensive.

    There's only so much Dunn can do on her own. She's hoping this sparks the idea for others, and that it spreads beyond her group.

    "Remember this is our final chapter of life. There's no do-overs and there's really no future like there always has been before in our lives," she said.

    "The future is right now and the next few whatever years we have left."

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Haydn Watters
    Haydn Watters is a roving reporter for Ontario, primarily serving the province's local radio shows. He has worked for CBC News and CBC Radio in Halifax, Yellowknife, Ottawa and Toronto, with stints at the politics bureau and the entertainment unit. He also ran an experimental one-person pop-up bureau for the CBC in Barrie, Ont.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  2. #2
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    Fascinating to read about Dunn's group in Canada.

    In the USA there is also the Golden Girls Network -- very similar, founded in 2008 by Bonnie Moore.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Depressing, but I'm glad these people found each other.

    "Dunn has been hearing from women around the province who say they are laughing for the first time in years. 'Breaks your heart but then I think to myself I hadn’t laughed in years either.'" Mind-boggling.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    Loneliness and isolation are a huge problem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sad Eyed Lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
    Loneliness and isolation are a huge problem.
    Yes it is. It is a very huge problem. As I have posted here before, I lost my husband in the blink of an eye, 4 years ago last month. I have no other family except a handful of cousins, a few are flung all around the U.S. and the 4 that live in proximity to me are all busy with their own lives, children/grandchildren, and except for an occasional phone call or facebook messaging there is not a lot of interaction with them. My friends have always been wonderful, but again they have their lives and aren't always around when I am feeling alone and needing to hear a human voice. The cats are pretty vocal but it is not easy to carry on a meaningful conversation! A wonderful friend came into my life the same time approximately that my husband passed. She had just left her husband and had one daughter who was grown, so we spent a lot of time together. Now the husband is back in the picture and that dynamic has changed very much. This past weekend was a good example of loneliness and isolation. A holiday weekend and therefore a lot of people have plans, so it can get very depressing and lonely. I called a couple of friends, but neither one answered. I understand, and I try not to feel sorry for myself, but without interaction with others, without conversation, without help sometimes, life gets VERY lonely and very hard.

    I live in a small rural town, there are really no interesting places to visit and just sit and strike up a conversation with someone. And even the places we have close on holidays, or Sundays, or whatever. And when I do go I am the one sitting alone to have lunch. And for the most part I am okay with being alone, it's just I have learned extended time alone - without interaction with others - is not good for me.

    So, long story to say the idea of co-housing is something I have thought very worthwhile in many respects. Good for this lady in Ontario taking the initiative to strike out in this direction. As far as I know, there is nothing like that near me. But, maybe for the future? Who knows.
    "Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in the midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free." Leonard Cohen

  6. #6
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    That is the biggest reason we looked for a senior apartment that had a lot of social activities built into the whole living situation. Although mom is totally independent, there are 7 buildings and hers alone has about 70-100 seniors in it. The mail room, Wed. coffee and donuts, monthly birthday parties and other scheduled activities bring out many who live there and almost any group can be created. Rents, which include all utilities but TV and excellent maintenance, is around 800 and up.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I have to remind myself to never take for granted that I while I do have life problems, loneliness is not one of them--yet. But I still have DH. This may sound morbid, but I do expect to outlive him because of our different lifestyle choices, and at that point, as introverted as I am, I expect some loneliness to set in. It's one of the reasons I tend to embark on built-in social opportunities, like Master Gardener stuff.

    I think co-housing is something I would entertain, but at the same time I need a lot of alone time. As much as I've always said I am not interested in 55+ communities, maybe I would change my mind at a certain point, because it seems like a hybrid approach--people who want to be social, but who go to their own homes at night.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    I am not sure "Golden Girls" is still a going concern. I was not able to connect with their website.

    Another resource (could be) Marianne Kelly. I will try to make a link to her Women Living In Community site.

    http://www.womenlivingincommunity.com/about/

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dado potato View Post
    I am not sure "Golden Girls" is still a going concern. I was not able to connect with their website.

    Another resource (could be) Marianne Kelly. I will try to make a link to her Women Living In Community site.

    http://www.womenlivingincommunity.com/about/
    there are lots of clips of
    Golden Girls on You Tube. Daddo, it is not a current television show it was made in the ? 1980s?. I say that because everyone has huge shoulders from shoulder pads of that fashion era. Since I am not an old gay man, it was never my jam.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I don’tWant to share a house with anyone I’m not married to, and I often have trouble sharing it with the person I am married to. I could live in a cell, in a prison cell or a nun’s cell, would not need ro be big but I want four walls that I can escape to without a human.

    On a related note , my garden club friends are gearing up to attend a symposium that is being held at a nunnery. If we want to stay there super cheap we can, but we have to share rooms. I told the group sorry no I’m not doing that. I don’t mind sharing a bathroom, I don’t mind living in a simple nun cell, but I’m not gonna share a room.

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