Cooperative living at Realife isn’t just for retirees

At left, the Great Room can be reserved for private events, and is also a popular spot for sitting around and visiting. Below, the Library gets plenty of use from people reading, playing cards and games to watching movies.

If you are an active senior and have been considering downsizing, there are alternatives to apartments, condominiums and townhomes. 

One attractive option is Realife Cooperative of Phalen Village, a senior living community for people 55 years of age and older, and, because it’s a cooperative, members have the advantages of home ownership with the conveniences of community living. 

“A senior co-op is really the only true carefree living option out there,” says Debbie Setering, Phalen Village’s resident services manager.

With cooperative living, members purchase a share, or a unit in the cooperative. Members pay a monthly fee and take part in the governing of their cooperative.

As a senior who is still working, Debbie knows first hand the benefits of living in a co-op. 

She says Realife Cooperative of Phalen Village gives members all the comforts and benefits of a single-family home with one big advantage: not having to worry about any maintenance, shoveling snow or mowing the grass.

“The seniors who live in a senior co-op can come home from work and they can choose what they want to do,” Debbie says. 

Other working seniors at Realife Cooperative of Phalen Village say the cooperative frees up their time to relax and enjoy life, all the while earning equity in the complex, something they wouldn’t do in a regular rental unit. 

Members going on an extended vacation can fill out a “while you’re away” form listing all the things they’d like taken care of while they’re traveling: No need to worry. 

Debbie suggests prospective members start looking into different cooperatives before turning 55, so they can get their names on a waiting list.

“People who move to a senior co-op, don’t move out unless they have to,” Debbie says. “If you’re still in your home, move when you can, not when you have to.”

Phalen Village allows those still working to be able to come home and just relax. With social events and different gathering places, there are plenty of opportunities to meet your neighbors, as well.

“It’s not a place where people feel lonely,” Debbie says. “It’s your life, take some time to enjoy it.”


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