Solution to Save Money on a Retirement Community: Get a Roommate

Two longtime neighbors decided to research communities, but never imagined they would share the same apartment!

When Sean Foohey moved into his townhouse in 1969, one of the first people he met was his next-door neighbor.  The two immediately developed a friendship and support network that included sharing dinner and conversation nearly every evening.  Now over 40 years later, they have made the move to The Woodlands Retirement Community in Fairfax, Va. where instead of living next door, they are sharing the same spacious apartment and loving it.

Featured in the new edition of Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook, Foohey’s unique story is “a wonderful example of how this challenging life transition can be more affordable and fun because you are sharing it with a friend,” said the publication’s founder and publisher, Steve Gurney.

Affordability is a key concern as the average monthly cost for Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) is $2,000 – $4,000 per month with entry fees that average between $126,000 and $364,000 according to a SourceBook survey of over 200 CCRCs in the mid-Atlantic.

In the case of Foohey and his friend, living together was not their original intention when they began discussing the challenges of maintaining their homes. “We lived in three-story houses with lots of steps that were just getting to be too much,” he said. “What I really envisioned was living in a retirement community next door to each other, in two small apartments.”

When visiting the Woodlands, they were surprised at how large the apartments were and realized it would make sense financially to explore the alternative of sharing one. They ultimately chose a two-bedroom apartment featuring two bathrooms, a spacious living room, dining room and kitchen. “It’s perfect for us. It’s like two little private suites with a common area in between and we love it,” said Foohey.

According to Gurney, the size of apartments and homes has dramatically increased in the last 10 years.  “This makes sharing spaces with a friend much easier,” he said. “In addition, many communities are now offering to customize and combine apartments to create better spaces for their residents.”

“I hope that Sean’s story inspires others to start talking to their friends and neighbors about shared solutions,” Gurney continued. “Whether it is in an existing neighborhood or moving to a retirement community it makes a lot of sense.”



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