For some retirees, living on retirement or social security income makes it tough to keep the same living standard that they maintained during their employment years. It is for this reason that some are using senior house sharing, and below are some benefits of this practice.
The Ability to Socialize
Loneliness is a common problem among aging retirees. Some have lost their spouse, and their children or grandchildren may live far away and be unable to visit them regularly. Additionally, a number of government studies have found a link between social isolation and an increased risk of mental or physical health problems. Therefore, having someone you can confide in is extremely beneficial.
Reduced Living Costs
The costs for a retirement or independent living community can exceed the income that a retiree is earning both from their social security or retirement funds. By utilizing house sharing, they can save money for utilities, rent, food, transportation, and respite care. There are also cases where the landlord might charge discounted rent should the retiree be willing to perform some maintenance work or household chores.
Greater Independence and Safety
As people age, taking care of routine tasks and errands can become more difficult. Living with someone dependable can shoulder this workload, allowing one person to take care of specific tasks while their housemate handles another. An example of this would be one retiree going out and buying groceries for the household, while another takes care of maintenance or cleaning work that needs to be done.
Another benefit is safety. A retiree who is living alone has no one to assist them in the event of a stroke, fall, cardiac event, or other medical emergencies. With house sharing, there is a chance that another person will be present who will witness the event and can then immediately contact a hospital so that help arrives in a timely manner.
Tips for Finding and Selecting a House Mate
The growing interest in retirement shared housing has led to the establishment of a number of organizations such as Affordable Living for the Aging and Senior Homeshares which provide assistance in finding suitable housemates. If such an organization doesn’t exist in your area, there are usually online sources you can use or even the yellow pages.
When selecting a housemate, you want someone in the same age range that has a track record of dependability. Women retirees may prefer female housemates, and it is important to choose individuals who have the financial resources to cover their share of the rent and other living expenses. It might also be helpful to perform a background check to ensure any potential housemates have not been involved in any criminal activity either recently or in the past. Not every housemate is a good person and contractual agreements should always include the escape clause in the event that you don’t get along and decide to go your separate ways.