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Rockwood women offer co-living alternative

Co-living - Oak Hill Co-living is renovating a home on Richardson Street in Rockwood for six 55-plus adults to occupy in a shared ownership capacity. From left: real estate agent Bonnie Mullen, Janette Ledwith, Anne Snell and Elisabeth Hines began the project.  Photo by Jaime Myslik

Rockwood women offer co-living alternative

by Jaime Myslik

ROCKWOOD - Four Rockwood women are creating an alternative living arrangement for those over 55 years of age within the community.

The idea came when Anne Snell and Elisabeth Hines were evaluating their finances and looking at how they would downsize in the future.

“One of the things I did was apply to a three-tiered retirement home and I got turned down on the basis that I didn’t have enough money to stay there long enough to make it worth their while, so to speak,” Snell said. She looked at her finances and figured out they were right.

Hines discovered the idea of co-housing and they created Oak Hill Co-living.

The goal is for six people to co-own a house in Rockwood. Each will be an equal partner and all will make decisions together.

Theoretically, with the shared mortgage and utilities, the cost should be one sixth of owning a detached home.

Hines and Snell were out looking at houses when they saw the location on Richardson Street in Rockwood. They went home, called Janette Ledwith, the owner, and walked right back.

“She opened the door and we had a good talk and she said ‘this sounds really great, it should be here,’” Snell said.

Ledwith said this was “an expression of why I moved to Rockwood.

“I moved from Milton, the busiest town/city and the fastest growing and I decided I wanted to live in a place that was quieter and that I didn’t have a lot of property to look after that offered lots of opportunities,” Ledwith said.

She was looking ahead to the time when she wouldn’t drive and with Rockwood’s grocery store, medical clinic, library, walking trails and transportation by GO transit, she said everything she needed was within walking distance.

Ledwith said she grew up in a home with three generations.

“This may be reverting to something or just evolving into something different where as we’re older and we may have lost a partner or we’ve retired ... we may have some equity that can provide for us in the next stage of our life,” she said.

Currently Ledwith’s house is under construction to demolish the interior and construct an addition that will allow for six private bed/sitting rooms with a private bathroom and a shared kitchen, dining room, living room and laundry areas.

While Hines and real estate agent Bonnie Mullen are involved in the project only Ledwith and Snell will live at Oak Hill. The team is currently conducting interviews for the other four owners.

Snell said one of the attractions is that she gets lonely when she lives alone. She likes the idea of having other people at home to interact with and to look out for her and her possessions.

Ledwith agreed.

“I think too there isn’t a lot of viable options for seniors right now,” Mullen said, adding it’s especially difficult for women who may not have pensions.

“I think this is a very healthy way to live,” Ledwith said.

The goal is to have the house completed by the fall.

For more information visit

May 19, 2017


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May 21 2017 | 10:12
I think this is an amazing idea!!! Not only will you have someone to play cards with, or afternoon tea with, if you pick your co-living partners that have similar interests or hobbies, you will have someone to join you!!! Well done ladies, BRILLIANT!!!! Plus all in all, it is an investment, and in this crazy real estate market, who better to invest in, than YOU!!!
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Nuala Galbraith
May 23 2017 | 04:31
This is a wonderful idea. I share a co-living space with 3 other women in Ireland. Our rental living arrangements came about as a result of circumstances that left each of us on our own without means to purchase or rent alone. Three of us are over 55. The home we rent is large with beautiful gardens and we have been enjoying living here for over two years. I really like what these ladies in Rockwood are doing. Our situation is less stable as people may leave as their circumstances change. However for today it is working well. We each have seperate space plus a shared living room, kitchen, laundry room and conservatory. Wishing the very best to the Rockwood 4.
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May 24 2017 | 09:56
This is such a good idea. Many seniors are struggling to meet their bills and have a reasonable place to live . Social isolation is one of the most detrimental factors our seniors face , shared accommodation provides a more secure financial base for them done companionship and people to talk to and share activities . I think the government should offer subsidies to people who will enter into these living arrangements . Bravo ladies !
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