With a dearth of affordable and available housing for older adults, especially singles, seniors are getting creative about their living arrangements and it might feel a little like college days once again. A growing number of seniors are co-housing with other single older adults to share expenses and provide support for one another.
With the demands of work and children or distance, families are often not able to provide daily support for older relatives and many baby boomers entering their retirement years are exploring alternatives lifestyles that will meet their aging needs. According to a recent CBC News report, single seniors, especially women who find themselves alone after a divorce or the death of a spouse, are looking for a like-minded roommate to share expenses when affordable housing isn’t available. And social media is just one tool seniors are using to find roomies.
CBC reports that a Facebook page, Senior Ladies Living Together, has caught on like wildfire in Ontario and to date, there are 600 seniors looking for roommates in the province. According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, 347,805 senior women live alone in Ontario. Teaming up with other older women, or men, gives seniors not only someone to share expenses, companionship and help should the need arise, it also offers hope for a better retirement experience.
Taking charge of living arrangements while older adults are able to make decisions and plan a move is an empowering undertaking. Rather than waiting for an illness or injury to spur a move into a retirement or long term care facility, being proactive about future housing needs can protect the health of single seniors. According to a recent AARP study, socially isolated older adults are more likely to be sicker and die sooner and have higher health care expenses than seniors who stay socially connected. Isolated older adults also have an increased risk for depression, difficulty performing daily tasks and frequently have multiple chronic health conditions.
If you are single and struggling to make ends meet, it might be time to think outside the box and look at home-sharing alternatives that could improve your quality of life in older age. The Golden Girls may have been on to something all those years ago!