Home sharing is gaining in popularity in recent years among seniors, largely due to the broadly increasing cost of living. The idea, which is by no means a new one, is that instead of living alone, moving in with family, or moving into a retirement home, seniors decide to live in a shared house with other occupants. These are often other seniors, though alternative arrangements also exist.
While it is still not as common as other methods of aging in place, there are some unique benefits that are worth considering. Of course, there are also drawbacks. In this article, we will examine some of the pros and cons of home-sharing for seniors to help you determine if it is a good option for you or your loved one.
Financial Relief: One of the most common reasons seniors choose to home share is that it eases financial burdens. Retirement homes can be very costly, as well as renting a home or making mortgage payments on a home that is not yet paid off. Not only can you ease that load by splitting costs among other occupants, but you can pool money for other resources such as groceries as well.
Increased Physical Safety: Living alone can be particularly disadvantageous to those with impairments or disabilities which put them at risk for injuries in the home. Home-sharing greatly increases the likelihood of someone being able to help if you need it urgently.
Company: Aging in place can be a rather lonely experience for many seniors, especially those with no family living nearby. Finding a housemate who is compatible with your lifestyle and enjoys many things that you enjoy can be a great salve for that loneliness. If the housemate has pets, or regularly visiting family, you may enjoy the benefit of their company as well.
Sharing the Load of Household Responsibilities: Provided that you can come to agreeable terms about household responsibilities, it can be a relief to everyone involved to divide household chores and tasks. It may be particularly beneficial if there are some responsibilities that are more difficult to you that the other occupant(s) take care of with more ease.
Family Members Appreciate That You Aren’t Alone: Many adult children of seniors experience the guilt of knowing that their parents are alone, especially if they live far away. It can provide a great sense of comfort and peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are not by themselves.
Schedule Conflicts: While visits from family or regular hosting of guests can fill the house with joyful experiences, they can also be tricky to coordinate, especially if they overlap and space is limited.
Financial Liability: There can sometimes be uncertainty, even when well-vetting housemates, around a person’s reliability, when it comes to paying their share of expenses.
Differing Lifestyles: Different from having roommates in college when each occupant is frequently leaving the house for school, work, etc., seniors who home share are much more likely to be spending the majority of their downtime inside the home. This can make it complicated when it comes to sharing things like the television, playing music in the home, using the kitchen, etc. Hobbies that create lots of noise, sounds, or other disruptions can become a source of frustration, as well as simply having different standards of cleanliness.
Lack of Privacy: When space is tight, a person’s personal space and sense of privacy may feel under attack when home-sharing. So please consider that, too, before sharing a flat or house with other seniors.
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