Seniors remember when you just left home or were in college, and you had the most annoying roommate. You keep thinking to yourself “I cannot wait until I can move out of here, or they do. Then like most people you finished college, got married, had children, etc. etc. etc. Well now many seniors who have already retired and are on social security are once again finding themselves with roommate. Some seniors have nice homes, but not a lot of ready cash. Others are renters, and not particularly comfortable with that regular money drain. And there are a few of us still living with the kids to get over a bad patch, without intending to make the arrangement permanent; they’ve got their lives to live, after all. Most of us left the idea of roommates behind when we left college, but now it has its attractions. The economy has made it difficult for many seniors to live alone, and a roommate is better than being homeless, which many seniors are homeless.
There is a new trend among seniors today, and that is seniors having roommates. The rising of rents leads seniors back to living with roommates. As the American population ages, and social security is not enough to live on the trend for seniors to have roommates will climb. Having a roommate is not just for the young anymore, and there will a growing demand for more assisted living facilities, which do at times have two elderly persons share a room, due to cost of these facilities, or create a network of home share programs. In 2030, as the last of the baby boomers hit conventional retirement age, the federal administration on aging estimates that one-fifth of the population will be at least 65. But with the largest 65-and-older population in the country and its crop of high-cost cities, the concept of roommates for seniors will become a reality. A reality just like it does for the college student that leaves home for the first time and realizes they do not have enough to live by themselves. The rents in the big cities are very high, for example the average rent in Los Angeles California is more than $1,400 a month. California already has had to start dealing with the issue and has the L.A. County nonprofit Affordable Living for the Aging.
Affordable Living for the Aging, has matched more than 220 people in the past seven years. As the population of seniors grows and the baby boomers retire, many seniors will have to consider roommates and break down the stereotype that living with roommates is only for young people. Becoming Roommates as mature adults is no longer just for the poor. Saving money on housing makes sense to thousands of single women who are living the Golden Girls Lifestyle. There is a website for just that it is the Golden Girls Network. You can visit the website and learn about home sharing at GoldenGirlsNetwork.com. As the American population ages, there will be a growing demand for a more established network of home share programs. Although the shared-housing model doesn’t work for everyone, but for some seniors it’s an important alternative to seniors moving in with their adult children.
There are agencies that put seniors together and the need for these agencies are growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep. An agency can handle the background check along with other screenings. An agency will consider the various lifestyle criteria, like smoking, pets, and income. These are the things that many seniors like to know before choosing a roommate. In addition, the agency can create roommate agreements, which would include chores, overnight visitors, and telephone use to name a few.
The agencies’ services work to help people who want a roommate. The agencies help so seniors don’t have to post notices in neighborhood weeklies or online and worry about who will respond. Craigslist can be very scary, especially for women. In addition, many women are target through Craigslist. Many people prefer the safety an agency gives them with the screening. Many seniors offering space for roommates are willing to take household help. Household help like grocery shopping, housecleaning, repair work, and take this help in lieu or some or all of the rent. This is a good idea for any college student that is having trouble finding housing and paying for school. In addition, a college student makes a good companion for any senior that has children that live far away. Companionship is an important side benefit.
Independence is great for seniors but isolation as we age is a growing concern, so companionship can be almost life-altering to the point it can bring a seniors spirits up. In addition, a long-lasting friendship may develop between the roommates. Some seniors like to make new friends and others just want a mutual respect and that’s fine. There are many benefits for seniors living as roommates. The friendship and help with household chores and the financial aspect, but also give their families a little piece of mind that their loved one is not living alone and when something happens will not have someone there to call 911.
For a homeowner, a roommate can help with finances in a couple of ways: the arrangement can provide extra income, and it can allow you to “barter” for services that you would have to pay for otherwise. Services like a ride to the doctor now and then, and having someone to help with the shopping or the yard work. In effect, the roommate option lets seniors use what is probably their biggest asset and that is their home, and they do not need to take a more drastic solution. The drastic solution involves a reverse mortgage or a home-equity line of credit.
The value of having a friendly soul in the house instead of an extra empty bedroom is very real, but hard to calculate. In addition, paying someone to live with you as a companion is very expensive, and oftentimes amount to very much the same thing. Of course, since few potential roommates will be trained caregivers, the roommate option works best for seniors who are still in reasonably good health. There are risks inherent in having a stranger in the house, and for seniors 50 and over it could involve more than loud parties or dirty dishes in the sink. Therefore, an agency that does home sharing is the best option for seniors with homes.
Home sharing is designed for homeowners with a spare bedroom who are looking for help and companionship. The potential roommate brings time, energy, and perhaps cash to the transaction. Although in most cases the homeowner need not be a senior, many are, and the programs that are available are administered by a variety of nonprofit organizations across the United States. Other countries aren’t as well served by administering agencies. The nonprofit administrators are the key to the success of home sharing programs. They meet with participants, check references, and visit the home. They also help create a written contract that covers the transaction, and mediate if necessary. Setting up a relationship that can survive on its own involves some serious initial discussions with the participants. The homeowner must realize that since some of their important needs are being met, that sometimes it’s just best to ignore petty annoyances involved with housekeeping and personal habits. In addition, it is always best that the housemate understands that no matter what, they’re a guest in someone else’s house and have agreed to a set of rules up front. Things work out best when both participants are willing to overlook small annoyances and work on effective communication.
It is always best to have a written contract or agreement. This is the core of any successful home share. The best thing when creating the written contract or agreement is the document spells out all obligations, such as rent amount and due date, and hours and types of services to be provided. In addition, it should also lists any restrictions, such as what hours guests are welcome, and whether smoking or pets are allowed. Every agreement should also spell out how much notice a participant should give before leaving the residence. It should include acceptable reasons for terminating the home share immediately, such as nonpayment of rent or failure to perform agreed-upon services. It should also have something in the document stating what the other should do in case one roommate is incapacitated or must move into a nursing facility due to illness. Regardless of our financial situations, seniors appreciate companionship and someone to share life’s daily tasks. Setting up a successful home share can be a win-win for everyone involved. Therefore, seniors should you find yourself in a financial bind and have an extra room, look for a roommate, it is not just for college students anymore.