QUESTIONS and ANSWERS - GENERAL PHILOSOPHY
Live as a “family”
We expect one of the main benefits of shared living to be companionship. While we will all have the option of retreating to our own suites to watch our favourite TV shows or read, we generally come together for our main meal of the day, chat regularly over morning coffee, etc. At the same time, we're all living independently. We don't necessarily tell anyone where we're going but we do try to let others know whether or not we'll be home for dinner.
We have had lots of visitors. One of the housemates invited the grandchildren of another over to bake christmas cookies. While we allow each other space to visit with people on their own, we all at least drop in to say "hi" when someone comes over - and sometimes we stay to chat. If anyone really wants private conversation, there's room to do that.
We extend our "family" concept to groceries as well - no one can say “that’s my yogurt” or “who used my laundry soap”. If we’re buying yogurt for one person, maybe we’re buying cookies for another.
Like any “family” we expect to occasionally have issues. But we’re old enough now to be able to work through those if we can just remember to be kind but direct in our communications.
Needs will change
We recognize that the types of help that we need will change over time. For example, most of us are fairly active now and so we share responsibilities for shopping and the preparation of the main meal of the day. But over time, it may make more sense to hire a part-time housekeeper who can prepare meals for us. Eventually some of us may need to have overnight care available. The cost of additional services will be split among those who need it. Splitting the costs will help make it affordable to stay in our own home.
Pay for the things that are likely to be irritants
We’ve tried to think of the types of things that were irritants when we shared apartments with college roommates, and ways that we can minimize those irritants. One of the big differences now is that most of us can afford to pay for services. So we have a weekly cleaning service that covers the entire house. We have a snow removal contract. We will likely hire someone for garden work, other than the "bits" that we enjoy.