Due to COVID, we’ve all felt the strain of isolation at some time or another, but people living alone, especially seniors, have felt the effects especially hard. In fact, prolonged isolation can have the same health risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Almost 30 percent of people 50 to 80 years old say they are lonely. That’s why more and more people are turning to home sharing for seniors as a solution. Not only can you find a friend, it also guarantees a steady stream of income as you age. New websites are now matching the most compatible seekers. Whether you’re a renter or homeowner, both can benefit under the same roof.
Sue and Sue. Mary and Randall. They could be aging alone and financially strapped. Instead, they are choosing to home share. “I could not afford to live here by myself,” said Randall Hughes, a home owner.
Sue Larsen opened her home to Sue Ronnenkamp, who pays 900 dollars a month in rent. She gets her own room, access to the rest of the home. Randall and Mary are also roommates. She rents part of the condo from Randall for 750 dollars per month. “Randall was really strong and positive about making me feel welcome,” said Mary Ozanic, a home renter.
Companies such as Silvernest and Senior Home Shares match seniors who want to stay in their homes with people who need a home. Silvernest says the average homeowner earns $10,000 a year. “It’s not uncommon for us to have roommates when we’re younger, but as we age, it’s not something that we naturally think about,” said Wendi Burkhardt, CEO & co-founder of Silvernest.
For many, home sharing is a necessity. Fifty-four percent of people over 55 have less than $50,000 in retirement savings. Wendi Burkhardt, founder of Silvernest, says house sharing sites like hers can help. After asking candidates a series of home and lifestyle questions, an algorithm decides a compatibility score. “It gives you a real good, clear picture of values and attitudes,” said Sue Larsen, a home owner. “The biggest thing we had to work out realistically what temperature to keep the house at,” Ozanic. But the benefits seem to outweigh any problems.
The National Shared Housing Resource Center is a clearing house that provides information, referrals to local agencies, programs, and guidelines on finding a housemate. You can check them out at www.nationalsharedhousing.org. Also, Silvernest is in all 50 states and offers a full background check both at a national and local level for a small fee. For more information, check out www.silvernest.com and www.seniorhomeshares.com.