Want to keep living at home? A senior homeshare may be the answer.
As more and more seniors are wanting to age in their homes, instead of moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility, homesharing is becoming a viable option for the aging population.
What is homesharing?
Homesharing is a new way for people to meet and maintain their housing needs, while also receiving a variety of benefits whether you are the homeowner or renter. In general terms, homesharing is when two or more unrelated people arrange to reside in the same home/apartment/condo, while still retaining their own private space within the residence. It is important to understand that no two homesharing situations are the same, and the parties involved should come to an agreement based on their own needs and wants.
Pros and Cons of homesharing
Having a roommate can help ease financial burden
In comparison to the cost of institutionalized living, homesharing is a significantly cheaper option. Having two or more people helping with the bills can justify the expense of keeping the house.
A roommate can provide company
Many older adults suffer from social isolation, which can actually have a large effect on their health. Homesharing can provide companionship as well as a sense of security knowing they are not alone in the case of any emergency situation. This can also give peace of mind to the adult children if they live far from their parents and want to know they are being taken care of.
A roommate can provide physical help
Not only have elderly been moving in with other elderly people, but many young adults, mostly college/graduate students, have been known to rent rooms from an elderly person’s home for relatively cheap in exchange for helping them with chores around the house, such as picking up groceries or yardwork, or giving them occasional rides to doctors’ appointments.
Lack of Privacy
If you or your loved one lived on their own for a while before obtaining a roommate, the lack of privacy is a major adjustment for a lot of people. While you still have your own room and areas, the whole house is no longer occupied by just one person. Many people seek out a roommate for the companionship and company that comes along with having one, but some may seek out a roommate just for financial help and are not interested in giving up the public areas of their home.
According to AARP, experts say that problems usually occur when areas of conflict—household chores, pets, cleanliness, communal areas, temperature of the house, noise, guests, etc.—have not been addressed within the first few weeks of the roommate moving in. If a roommate’s agreement has been written up, the renter may also have some issues about what the document entails and what the rules around the house are. If you are participating in homesharing, it is important that you are patient and understanding and recognize that your roommate is now also paying to live in your space, even if the space originally belonged to you.
If one of the renter’s does not pay their portion of the bills, then as the homeowner you are still responsible for getting the bills paid on time (since they will most likely still be under your name as the owner of the home). Newretirement.com also states there are financial implications that can impact your taxed and overall financial outlook if you were to take in a renter.
Where to find a roommate
There have been many sites created to help elderly people find a roommate or help those seeking to rent find a home. Here is a list of a few:
The Golden Girls Network
The Golden Girls Network is a nationwide electronic database that provides an opportunity for adults seeking an economical lifestyle by forming senior communities together with compatible housemates. They do not do the matching for you, but provide you with opportunities to find other like-minded individuals. Members pay a $39 fee for six month’s access to the company’s service. Most of the members of this network are between the ages of 50 and 70.
According to Senior Homeshare’s website, Senior Homeshare is an online housemate service specifically for older adults. They match elders who have more home than they need or can afford with elders on a fixed income who are looking for safe, affordable housing. Accessing their database is free, and many users are empty-nesters, widows, or widowers.
Similar to Senior Homeshares, Silvernest uses a matching tool to link you to prospective housemates based off information you fill out in your detailed profile. The service is free to use if you are looking for a home to stay at. Homeowners, however, pay $29.99 to communicate with potential housemate matches. The $29.99 includes unlimited communication between homeowners and their matches for up to three months. Silvernest is different from other roommate matching services because it is specifically for empty nesters and baby boomers.
Roommates 4 Boomers
This service is specifically designed for women aged 50 and over and connects boomer women with similar lifestyles, backgrounds, and interests who are searching for a roommate to share the comforts of home and friendship. The service is currently free to use.