Shared living keeps us healthy says Roxanne Cornell - Aging But DANGEROUS!

Even though you’re busy with friends and interests, it can still feel lonely coming home to an empty house.

Vibrante Living has created a personalized approach to giving independent women age 55+ the companionship they crave. 

Life is good! Your kids are grown and have families of their own. You have reached that time in life when you’re free to pursue your favorite pastimes. But yet, returning to an empty home can feel so lonely. “There is growing interest in fixing this housing gap for active baby boomers,” comments licensed social worker Roxanne Cornell. “Even though they are still independent, many now live alone, which can feel isolating at times.”

Cornell believes that’s why she’s getting so much interest in Vibrante Living, a remodeled private home located near the Twin Cities’ Lake Nokomis. “It’s a place for four vibrant, independent women aged 55+ who simply don’t want to live alone any longer.” Cornell purchased and updated the luxurious home, built in 1941, ensuring that there is plenty of private space as well as shared space. In addition to a grand kitchen, living, library and sunroom, there are four spacious suites, each with a private bathroom.

Shared living helps keep us healthy!

Cornell knows that sharing a private home has the potential to change lives for the better. She stresses that we need companionship if we are to remain healthy and involved in life. “Some studies show that the impact of isolation and loneliness on our health may be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Baby boomers, especially, often find it hard to admit that we need anybody. That’s just silly!

“Corporations are building big complexes for 55+ adults, offering healthier meals, travel services and other lifestyle amenities. This is sometimes called service-enriched lifestyle housing. As a social worker, I understand that these big complexes may not be right for everyone. You can still feel lonely even if you are surrounded by hundreds of other tenants. The quality of your relationships matters.”

As an alternative shared living environment, Vibrante Living is enabling four women to build friendships naturally. “We’re offering the companionship of strong, smart, interesting women who want to live their purpose as they age. Members also have plenty of space for privacy.”

Vibrante Living also offers similar amenities as those big complexes but on a smaller, more personal scale. The amenities include concierge services similar to what is available at high-end hotels. There is also easy access to nearby walking and bike paths, the library, restaurants and shopping.

Retirement often changes our social interactions

Cornell has a lot of experience helping older adults navigate the social aspects of retirement. “Often, our jobs have been our primary resource for social interactions for decades. We may not have taken the time to develop outside interests and friendships. When we quit going to work every day, we must find a way to replace those relationships.” For those who may be shy about making connections, she advises:

  • Just show up. “Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. Join some social group such as a book club or garden club. Sign up for a fitness or cooking class.”

  • Create your own support system. “Seek out others who have retired before you. Get a feel for how they stay involved with others.”

  • Challenge yourself to talk with one person every day. “Have a few questions in mind ahead of time to help you start a conversation.”

  • Practice! “Talk with people in line. Exchange greetings with the cashiers. Smile and show a genuine interest in getting to know something about the other person.”

For women who are active and eager to keep their world big, Cornell believes Vibrante Living may be a good fit. “Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you suddenly lose interest in the things you’ve been passionate about. In fact, now you may even have more time and energy to enjoy them. If members want to register for a French cooking class, I’ll make that happen. I’ll even arrange for a private chef if they want to give a dinner party. It’s their home, but I’ll be as hands-on as they want me to be.”

She describes Vibrante Living as a gathering place designed for do-ers. “They live life on their terms, regardless of their age.”

Roxanne J. Cornell is the owner and founder of . A clinical social worker by education and training, she spent decades helping people navigate life transitions. She also spent five years as the owner of a small home improvement business. A social entrepreneur is someone whose business endeavor is primarily focused on innovative ways to benefit society, rather than solely on income and profits. A social entrepreneur at heart, Roxanne left her job with a local law firm to start Vibrante, a company whose name evokes the flourishing spirit she hopes to nourish. In 2016, Roxanne bought a large home on Lake Nokomis, remodeled it and began spreading the word. The rest is history in the making. 

Always at the forefront of change, Roxanne continues to look for new ways to enhance people’s lives and bring them joy. She enjoys yoga, travel, the arts, reading, great food, interesting conversation, biking, gardening, being on the water, and is a big believer in staying active through all our seasons. Roxanne is a lifelong learner, finding joy and fulfillment in building relationships with people across various walks of life. She is a member of Edina Professionals Serving Seniors and the Minneapolis Area Senior Workers Association, including serving as past Chair of the Board’s Education Committee. Roxanne is also a member of the following organizations: the American Society of Aging, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the YWCA. She has been licensed by the Minnesota Board of Social Work as an Independent Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the past 25 years.  

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