Creative Aging Expert

November 2007

In This Issue

Crone: A New Magazine

The first issue of CRONE: Women Coming of Age will be published in spring 2008. It evolved from The Crone Chronicles, a journal that was published from1989-2001.

Ann Kreilkamp, founder of Crone Chronicles wrote, "For the first time in history, enormous numbers of women are traveling through the gate of menopause and looking forward to a life span of some 30 more years. And we women have a certain hard-won wisdom, gleaned through consciously processing the experiences of our long and fruitful lives. What are we going to do with this wisdom? Play golf? Get our hair done? We begin to glimpse the opportunity, and the responsibility."

Whereas the Chronicles served to activate the archetype of the Crone, encouraging us to uncover our voice and heart with a soul rooted in wisdom wrestled from long experience, CRONE will assume that this archetype is alive and well within us and let the world know who we are, both in terms of Crone awareness and how this awareness projects and manifests in the world.

Each issue of CRONE will feature two major interviews, one with a Crone working primarily in the outer world, the other with a Crone focused primarily on her inner world. There will be eight departments, staffed by a circle of editors and numerous columnists, including special columnist Jean Shinoda Bolen, author of Crones Don't Whine.

Thanks to for this description. For more information or to subscribe, contact

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Novels about Older Women

I have recently discovered the wonderful novels of Joan Medlicott. Beginning with The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love, she introduces us to Grace, Hannah, and Amelia, older women living together in a boarding house for seniors. Each, in her own way, tentative about life - carrying scars from unfulfilled marriages, lost children, and deaths of spouses. The novels follow them as they move on and develop into full fledged, independent persons.

What I like about these seven novels is that they handle so many of the issues we face as we grow older - health, distant children, loneliness, finances, sex, meaningful work. These three women with totally different personalities end up living together in a farmhouse in North Carolina. It isn't easy solving their differences, but they somehow always do. They manage to form a tight community providing solid support for each other as they grow older and face new dilemmas.

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Senior Roommate Finder?

If you were a senior looking to share a dwelling with others or a homeowner with space to share is there an agency in your town that would help you connect?

I heard from a 65-year-old woman in my community whose companion is in a nursing home. She wants to share her two story house with another senior, but can locate no agency to assist her in finding someone suitable. Both the Area Agency on Aging and the Social Services Department are not able to help.

If you're thinking of starting a business this might be a niche you should investigate. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates 500,000 or a little more than 1 percent of women 50 or over currently live with nonromantic roommates. And by all indications this is a growing market. Connie Skillingstad of Minneapolis launched Golden Girl Housing several years ago. The nonprofit service helps women look at nontraditional options for housing that meet their financial, social, and emotional needs. She says, "It's tough for some women to think seriously about shared housing and many don't know where to start."

"In our culture living communally with people who aren't related to us certainly isn't considered the norm," says Jacqueline Grossmann, copresident of the National Shared House Resource Center. "So when women decide to do this, there's usually a pretty compelling financial need - a divorce, a job loss, an illness, or even the realization that they don't have enough of a nest egg."

When I first launched my speaking business, Make It Happen!, I took a room with bath and small study in someone else's house. This enabled me to save on living expenses and put that money into my business. Four years later I moved out and rented my own apartment. Other reasons people want to share are companionship, peace of mind, and just having some time to think before the next big decision. "This is the wave of the future," Skillingstad predicts.

Home Share Long Island brings together people in their 20s and 30s with those in their 70s and 80s to share the cost of housing and learn from each other. Similarly in Atlanta, Georgia, HouseMate Match, a 20-year-old program brings modest-income 70-plus-year-olds together with 25-40 year old working people. Although a few of their matches are older adults sharing a home with another older adult. In the Atlanta program, both the home owner and home seeker are screened and interviewed.

So there are things happening to help people find roommates. If there is such an agency in your town, I'd be interested in hearing about it. Information for this article comes from the July/August AARP magazine article, "The New Housemates," and from Generations United Together newsletter, Vol. 12, No 2, 2007.

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A Great Tagline

The tag line for Marian Van Eyk McCain's October Elderwoman newsletter caught my eye. "An e-zine for 21st century elderwomen committed to radical aliveness." Read more at

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National Positive Aging Conference

Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, will host the 2007 National Positive Aging Conference "Beyond the Cutting Edge," on December 6-8. I am particularly interested in the pre-conference intensive session titled, "Third Age Life Planning: A Holistic Approach." There is an amazing array of notable presenters from all over America, including Helen Dennis (Andrus Center), Donna Butts (Generations Unlimited), Robert C. Atchley (Miami University), Gene Cohen (George Washington University), Betsy Cole (President, 3rd Age Life Planning), Harry Moody (AARP), and many, many more.

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Commitment Ceremony?

I recently heard of a commitment ceremony which was preformed in a Lutheran church between two seniors (a widow and a widower). They had decided to live together, but did not want to marry due to an array of issues like children and finances. They did, however, want to commit to being together for the rest of their lives. Their church preformed a commitment ceremony for them. This was a new and interesting idea to me. Has anyone else heard of such a ceremony being performed for a senior couple?

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Good to Be Back

Seven weeks is a long time to be away, and I must admit it is good to be home and back to familiar routines. I spent one week participating in an Oregon Sustainable Energy Bike Tour. It provided a real window into the organic farming and land preservation movements. We met and worked with many courageous individuals devoting their lives to improving the environment. Then I traveled with a friend on a car camping trip during which we viewed the rugged coastline of Northern California, observing the fierce surf pounding on beaches backed by towering cliffs. We also visited Lake Tahoe and Point Reyes National Seashore, both of which were treasures... and yes Lake Tahoe is cold, but I can tell you from experience - it is swimable!

Soon I'll be heading to the Florida Keys for a week-long bike tour, then to Miami and on to St. Pete for the Positive Aging Conference.

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Emily Kimball
3220A West Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23221-1306
(804) 358-5536
Fax (804) 358-2415