Nancy Hendrickson, 65, and her mother, Jeanne, 94, have been roommates at Grace Ridge, a life plan community in Morgantown, NC, since June.

Seeds for the arrangement were planted in September 2017, when the two evacuated together to a Florida hotel room due to Hurricane Irma. Afterward, they began a seven-month search for a retirement community outside of a hurricane-prone area, researching more than 50 places online before visiting four in person.

Affordability, easy access to nature, a full kitchen, outdoor space and close proximity to colleges were important factors in their search.

As residents, Jeanne attends Grace Ridge University classes, takes trips with the Travel Club or catches a Saturday night movie, and Nancy busies herself with the choir, working in the library and reading on the balcony. Their separate activities give them time for privacy as well.

Together, they enjoy playing cards with the Bridge Club, watching Perry Mason and “The Chase” trivia game show and exploring the region.

“There are a lot of questions you need to ask other than ‘Are the people nice?’ and ‘Can I afford it?’” Nancy said when asked what advice she would have for others looking for a retirement community. “Make a list of the things that are really important to you, and make sure you get those questions answered. It’s also important to stay a night or two to test the place first.”

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