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Is Senior House-Sharing Ideal?

Studies have shown that older adults are more likely to stay alone in the U.S. than the rest of the world. Living all alone in a house with no friends or family members around can result in isolation that may lead to mental disorders like depression. Many alternative housing arrangements have emerged to avoid such problems. These arrangements promise safety and companionship to the elderly — senior house-sharing is one of them.

Let us look at what senior house-sharing is and why it can be a great option for you.

What is senior house-sharing?

Much like any home-sharing situation, senior house-sharing is when two or more unrelated people live under the same roof — in either a home, condo, or apartment. Usually, seniors get their own private bedroom while having a shared kitchen and bathroom.

This living arrangement allows seniors to be independent while ensuring they are not entirely isolated but have a partner to interact with. There are no rules in a senior house-sharing per se, and the roommates can set their own guidelines to avoid conflicts and ensure a positive experience.

Benefits of senior house-sharing

The popularity of this alternative living arrangement is soaring due to its multiple advantages to both the seniors and their family members.  Not only does it provide companionship but it also offers individuals the opportunity to age in place. Here is how senior house-sharing can be beneficial for you:

1. Companionship

The most obvious reason the older generation prefers to live in the company of someone of the same age is to alleviate the feeling of loneliness. Regardless of the age, people start feeling depressed when they are all by themselves in their houses.

Senior house-sharing helps overcome this challenge. With a partner by your side, it reduces the feelings of loneliness and isolation. You can talk to your senior roommate. You can even go out with them and enjoy your post-retirement life. Most importantly, your roommate can support you mentally and offer an enduring friendship.

2. Cost savings

What makes senior house-sharing extremely attractive is the reduced cost of living. It is a cost-effective way of living in today’s expensive world. As most of the expenses are shared between you and your roommate, you spend less — it is just like splitting the bill in the restaurant.

Home-sharing is the best way to cut down on expenses, especially if you are living on social security or retirement expenses — it will enable you to save on things like rent and groceries. It will offer you a positive living standard even if you cannot live a lavish life as you used to when you were working.

Additionally, living with a senior roommate saves you from paying for the nursing homes. In contrast to senior house-sharing, there is no possibility of price negotiation in such care facilities, wherein you can ask a landlord to offer a discount.

3. Safety

Safety is an added benefit when it comes to senior house-sharing. As you live with a partner, you have someone to turn to in case of emergencies — you can ask for their help if you need urgent medical attention. If you have to be rushed to the hospital, your roommate can accompany you until your family arrives. Besides, your family members will also be at peace knowing that you have someone to fall back on.

If an injury makes your movement difficult, your roommate can aid you in bathing and dressing until your caregiver shows up. Furthermore, working errands also becomes easy when a partner is around to help you out. Overall, senior house-sharing complements independent living.

Tips for a positive house-sharing experience

When it comes to home-sharing, choosing the right partner is crucial to ensuring a positive experience, and when seniors are involved, this becomes an even more vital step. To avoid any future conflicts, ensure all your family members meet your prospective housemate.

Additionally, talk to your housemate to-be and decide how the common rooms will be maintained and used and what possessions are off-limits. Also, consider the rules for smoking, drinking, or calling friends over.

Even if both of you agree on each other’s terms and conditions, always include an escape clause in your contract so that you can easily opt-out if things do not go as smoothly as anticipated.

Whether you rent or remain in a home owned by one of the roommates, there are certain questions to consider as you enter into an agreement.

Q1. What are the terms?

Having a written agreement protects you and your housemate. Therefore, ensure you have one and understand the it thoroughly.  While this is a way to reduce some barriers to living at home, it can also add conflict if expectations are not addressed at the outset.

Q2. What if I need to leave temporarily?

You may have to visit your family members frequently or plan to live with them for a few weeks. In such cases, it is important to determine if bills are shared whether both parties are at home or if they are absent for a time. This will prevent misunderstandings in the future.

Q3. What if the homeowner decides to sell the house?

Consider all types of scenarios that you may face when considering senior home-sharing. For such situations, always have a backup plan ready to steer clear of inconveniences. Should the roommate that owns the home become ill or need to go into assisted living, it’s important to consider how this will affect you.

How can LifeFone enhance your senior house-sharing experience?

We understand seniors are more susceptible to falls, trips, and illnesses.  Our medical alert systems make independent living a safer experience for all older adults and can play a vital role in your ability to get help when seconds count.   If you are currently living alone or are considering sharing a home with another senior, consider a medical alert system to help provide greater peace of mind.

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