Approximately 28% of seniors 65 and older live alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older adults face an increased risk for loneliness and social isolation due to living alone.
As seniors age, living costs while living alone can become increasingly difficult to handle. Finding a housemate for your loved one can make senior living easier and more enjoyable in numerous ways.
What is Homesharing?
Senior homeshare match-up programs bring together older home providers with individuals seeking a place to live. In exchange for providing a private room in their home, seniors receive household assistance or rent from their housemate, or a combination of the two.
Benefits of Homesharing for Seniors.
Homesharing can be a good choice for roommates of any age, but there are benefits for seniors that make the arrangement particularly attractive, including:
Having a housemate enables a senior to avoid or postpone the move to an assisted living facility. In addition, the extra monthly income can help seniors on a fixed income make ends meet.
A housemate can help with cooking, laundry, gardening, or even assist with transportation needs. They also offer a measure of safety, daily companionship, and a peace of mind for family.
Benefits of Homesharing to Potential Housemates.
Those looking for rooms to rent participate in homeshare programs for a variety of reasons. Many of them have free time but not a lot of money, such as students, those working part-time, or a recent retiree now living on a fixed income. Some just appreciate the opportunity to serve as a live-in caregiver in exchange for free or reduced-cost room and board. They, too, might desire the companionship and security from having a senior roommate.
The Match-up Process and Homeshare Agreement.
The homeshare match-up process consists of several steps that take participants from application to move-in. These steps typically include:
Home provider and home seekers submit an application, in-person interviews are conducted, home visits are made by program staff, the match-up is made, and a negotiation of homeshare agreement completed.
The written homeshare agreement is very important. It spells out all obligations, such as rent amount and due date, and hours and types of services to be provided.
Keys to a Successful Homeshare Match.
Before the application is completed, think about what your parent needs and wants. Candor is also key when looking for a housemate. There’s no benefit in hiding any flaws.
Be flexible and have realistic expectations. Homeshare program coordinators say that even happy housemates sometimes have disputes.
It can take weeks or even months to find a compatible match for your loved one. A good match is worth the wait, so be patient.
Visit www.nationalsharedhousing.org for a state-by-state listing of homeshare programs or check into local agencies and nonprofits that provide housing services in your area.
Homesharing is an ideal option for seniors who are mainly independent but shouldn’t live alone. It can help your loved one remain independent with the added safety of someone always being around to check up on them.