Many seniors find themselves at a point in life where the big home they bought to house their whole family is only inhabited by one. The house is still a comfortable home full of memories. It’s a space you’ve made updates to over the years so it’s just to your liking. You love it and don’t want to give it up, but it’s frankly too big for one person.
With 87% of seniors hoping to age in place, this is an increasingly common scenario. A house with multiple bedrooms and a large yard isn’t the most practical choice for an aging senior on their own living off of retirement savings and social security. But most seniors hope to hold onto theirs anyways.
One solution that’s helping make that possible is shared housing.
What is Senior Shared Housing?
Shared housing is a growing movement that isn’t just for seniors, but is especially well suited to the situation many seniors find themselves in.
The idea behind shared housing is simple: a homeowner with more space than they need opens up their home to someone who needs a place to live. They can rent out a room for pay, they can work out a deal with the homesharer to help with the around-the-house chores the senior is having trouble with, or they can figure out an arrangement that’s some combination of the two and works well for both people.
It may be worth as much to some seniors to have help with regular meals and lawn care as it is to get a monthly check, or that check could be the thing that makes aging in place affordable for the long term. Either way, shared housing works best if it’s beneficial to everyone involved.
Is Shared Housing Right for You?
There are a number of good reasons for a senior to consider shared housing. Consider if any of these apply to your situation:
- Your home is much larger than you need and includes one or more bedrooms that are going unused.
- You’re finding it hard to keep up with cleaning, yard work, and home repairs on your own.
- You haven’t paid off the mortgage and it’s becoming difficult to balance those monthly payments with your other expenses in retirement.
- You’re struggling with necessary tasks like running errands or making meals and are having a hard time finding a solution.
- You’ve realized that living alone makes you lonely.
- Or, you’re looking for a place to live and like the idea of having the company of another senior as a roommate.
Senior shared housing makes it possible to spread chores and costs around so everybody has less to worry about, and it tackles the serious issue of senior loneliness that’s often a consequence of aging in place. If you can find the right roommate, it’s a win win for all involved.
How to Find a Roommate
Recognizing the growing need for senior shared housing, the Golden Girls Network arose to help potential senior roommates find one another. Whether you’re looking for a senior to move into the home you own, or are looking for a home to move into, the website helps you find someone who’s likely to be a good fit. There are other roommate match websites and services out there, but if you want to stick with other seniors, this one conveniently narrows the field of options down.
If you’re open to the idea of finding a younger roommate, a website like Roomie Match can help you find someone that’s compatible, and does the important work of screening out likely scammers.
Senior shared housing will require making some changes in your lifestyle. After years of living on your own or only with immediate family members, you’ll need to get used to the lifestyle and habits of someone else. You’ll have to practice good communication skills and may need to make some compromises to ensure everyone’s happy. But it can lead to new friendships and make it easier to hang onto your home long into retirement. For many seniors, it’s just the solution they need.