Mom used to say this society wants aging people dead. She often felt laws and conveniences are designed to make it difficult for older people to survive. I didn’t get it at the time. She said: “You’ll see” and so now I see.
1 in 3 people over 50 will face old age alone and people are living longer. Healthcare and housing costs are rising plus since 1990, the National Center for Family & Marriage Research reports the overall 50+ divorce rate has climbed. Put all five of those lifestyles together and you’ve got the perfect candidates to be roommates. Most roommate candidates are women, possibly because women live an average of five years longer than men.
Roommates? Not me, you say? Most people had that reaction at first, but there are 4 million women 50+ living in U.S. households with at least two other 50+ women. For these women, it’s a matter of safety: not being alone, easing up the finances and just having that social connection with someone.
Agencies that match people over 50 are popping up all over the country. Los Angeles and New York are leaders in this area. The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens has matched over 2,000 senior roommates since 1981. As of this writing, the effort is expanding in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant area to develop an affordable “age friendly” neighborhood. The city of Los Angeles’ Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA) has been matching compatible roommates for 30 years. Both cities, among others are very expensive for people on a fixed income.
Realtor.com reports that in 2015 there were 703 thousand people in the U.S. living with someone over 50. In Sarasota, Florida, the Living in Community Network claims 80% of its 500+ clients are baby boomer women.
Portland, Oregon based Let’s Share Housing finds shared housing for people between the ages of 18 & 80, with or without pets.
Video: Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding & Keeping Good Housemates by Annamarie Pluhar.
So now for the real side. This story is about real “upper age” baby boomers, but their names are not mentioned. Their house was perfect. He even tiled the garage and wiped the floor daily. She hand picked the neighbors who were allowed in her house. We passed her weird test, but after the first visit, we were always busy. He demanded perfection in the neighborhood, having become the official “watchdog” and he painted his mailbox monthly so it would always shine. No grass was ever greener than his. They thought they were perfect…UNTIL….she took a trip to visit family and he invited his not-so-new young girlfriend in for the week. She found out and forced him to put the house on the market. That is when the rest of us found out they were never married. They bought the house together as “roommates”, but once the facade of being a “couple” was exposed, she wanted out. Doesn’t it seem wise to have a long list of requirements, hopes, rules, admissions, etc before choosing a roommate. That’s why the above sources are worth detailed research before moving in with any ole’ body.
by Dianne Thompson® comments welcome at email@example.com