Shedders – a different way of retirement living

Fifty Plus Books recently had the opportunity to meet Heather Bolster, an interesting woman who has a story to tell about living in what she terms an “intentional” community with her husband and two other couples. She tells the story in a great and useful book called “Shedders”. She was interviewed recently about how it’s gone now after 10 years of them living together and this is what she said.
“When I mentioned this to Rick, my husband, a few days ago, he said, “That’s easy. Tell ’em 9.5 out of 10.”
So, elaborating on Rick’s intuitive leap:
Some 17 years ago, when we first began talking about our vision of sharing retirement together, our conversations centered around three things. We wanted to avoid isolation as we age, to stretch our retirement dollars as far as possible, and to provide support for each other through tough times.
And now, after over 10 years of living together, how has that gone?
Shared finances. Rick and I live in a big, beautiful home on a 4-acre lot with sweeping views, near the ocean. We travel overseas for several months every year. We have a nice vehicle, a ride-on mower, an amazing variety of appliances, fabulous gardens, endless yoga equipment, quality meals every night of the week. Rick and I could not have afforded this lifestyle on our own nest egg. This community has saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars. 9 out of 10 for this one.
Mutual support. I experience day-to-day support in our Shedder environment. Sometimes it’s a helping hand with something I’m doing, sometimes it’s a cup or tea or a “How’s it going?” On a more intense scale, over the time we’ve been together we’ve had 3 major surgeries, 1 medium one and a dozen smaller ones. A steady flow of support means that there’s never been one over-worked spouse who has to carry the whole burden. We’ve been there for each other. 9.5 out of 10.
Avoiding isolation. Unless someone is away, we see each other daily. Mostly we dine together in the evenings. We share a strong interest in yoga, in choral singing, in books, in palliative care, in gardening, in cooking. Not only that, but these shared interests lead us into larger communities – the yoga classes, local choirs, the garden club, the palliative care community – that fill our lives to the brim. We are about as un-isolated as people can be. 10 out of 10 on this one.”
To find out more about Shedders check this recent blog from Heather.
Calmful living

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