Retirement Living with Your Best Friend

in Independent Living

Written by PARC Retirement Living

Three senior women happily holding each other

Turns out The Golden Girls were on to something. The groundbreaking sitcom smashed multiple myths and stereotypes during its celebrated run from 1985 to 1992, including the notion that older women were well past living with roommates. Rather, the series’ four endearing female characters showed that seniors can continue to live independently and, better yet, thrive while residing with like-minded peers under one roof.

Today, life is imitating art as older adults increasingly open up to the concept of living with roommates or friends in their, ahem, golden years. From Facebook groups and websites to workshops and books, the business of helping seniors find and live with others is bustling. Longer lifespans, an expanding senior demographic, rocketing rents, safety concerns and loneliness continue to give rise to creative senior living solutions.

One option that aptly addresses all those factors: seniors sharing a suite or two in a retirement residence. Indeed, you don’t have to continue to live alone or feel you can only move into a senior living setting if you have a spouse. Here’s how living with your best friend(s) in an independent adult community could be a good fit for you:

Residents gardening

Benefits of living with your “besty”

Living with your best friend in your senior years comes with a host of benefits. Whether you choose to live in neighbouring smaller units or share a larger suite for affordability (see below), here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Affordability An obvious advantage to sharing space with a friend or like-minded senior is affordability. Splitting the rent and other costs opens the door to a wider range of senior living options, including retirement residences that fully meet your needs and desires but would otherwise be out of reach.
  • Companionship Science shows that social isolation and loneliness puts seniors at higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, anxiety and other physical and mental conditions. Having someone around to talk and bond with, and enjoy activities and outings with, can provide a sense of belonging, social connectedness, friendship and fun.
  • Safety and support Though most independent living residences provide 24-hour emergency response and other safety features like pull chords, having a roommate provides an extra layer of support in the event you experience an injury or other medical issue.

Resident knitting with friend

Roommates and retirement residence living

Living in a retirement community makes having a roommate all that more appealing. For example, PARC Retirement Living provides weekly housekeeping as part of its resident package. (Think, stress-free living and no quibbles about who cleans what.) What’s more, while each suite has a full kitchen, PARC residents enjoy daily chef-prepared meals in onsite casual and fine dining spaces.

Equipped with ergonomic safety features, PARC’s spacious suites are available in two- and three-bedroom layouts, ample room for you and a friend or two. (Alternatively, if affordability isn’t a priority but your social circle is, you and your friend(s) could live in separate units while still enjoying each other’s company.)

Having a roommate or close friend nearby also means you have someone to accompany you on the many activities and excursions offered at PARC residences. Have fun strengthening your body and brain with PARC Fit, a program offering a variety of fitness classes including chair yoga, pole walking, Zumba Gold and memory improvement. Arts and cultural experiences are also plentiful at PARC: take an oil painting class together, join a resident-led choir or knitting club or catch an off-site concert, symphony or live theatre performance.

Situated in lively communities, PARC properties also make the ideal base from which to explore and experience local cafés, shops and landmarks (strolling White Rock’s promenade and historic pier is a favourite pastime among Oceana PARC residents – and a perfect outing for roommates or best buds).

Residents enjoying coffee in suite

Tips for asking a good friend to make the move with you

While you might recall the trials, tribulations and perhaps crazy times of living with college chums in your youth, take confidence in knowing you’re now approaching your next step in life with maturity and life wisdom. Still, there are some key points to keep in mind when choosing who to live next door to or share a living space with:

  • Compatibility Finding the ideal person comes down to having the right chemistry. A good friend’s background, lifestyle and interests likely overlap and complement yours, but you’ll also want to consider how suited they are to an independent retirement residence like PARC.
  • Expectations Make sure your potential neighbour or roommate has a realistic vision about long-term living in a shared arrangement. Are they considerate and respectful, neat and tidy, and OK with setting boundaries? Discuss common expectations and specific pet peeves so there are no surprises. Are they a night owl and watch TV late at night? Do they have pets? (PARC residences are pet-friendly.)
  • Finances Are they financially stable and able to contribute rental payments on a long-term basis?

Time for a change

Are you ready to take the next step and move in with your long-term pal or friend? Many PARC residents have already changed and enhanced their lives in a variety of ways since moving in. Perhaps now is your turn.

In fact, that change can open up new possibilities is one of several life lessons passed down from that funny foursome, as implied by writer Jim Colucci in his book, Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind the Lanai. Apparently, Betty White was to have originally played promiscuous Blanche, and Rue McClanahan play innocent Rose, but the director made a last-minute switch – and the rest is history!

Learn more about life at PARC by booking a tour today.