Friday, July 8, 2011

Shared Housing for Seniors: The Golden Girls Got it Right!

Just a group of women having a ball!
It was September 14, 1985, and “Golden Girls” characters Dorothy Zbornak, Rose Nylund, Blanche Devereaux, and Sophia Petrillo had stumbled upon something great.  The four older women in the 80’s NBC sitcom lived together in a home in Miami, Florida, offering each other friendship and companionship in their golden years. Today, this arrangement is called "Shared Housing" and it has emerged as an actual retirement strategy.
What are the benefits to shared housing?
Shared housing allows participants to improve or maintain a certain standard of living that they may not be able to afford since leaving the workforce or becoming single or widowed. Instead of coming home to an empty house or apartment, they come home to a group of gals/guys who share their life and interests. Shared housing often allows seniors to “age in place,” close to the communities and amenities, such as transportation, healthcare and other services, they had been used to having for many years.
According to AARP and reported recently by Reuters in 2010 there were approximately 130,000 Golden-Girl type households across the country. That’s approximately 480,000 baby boomer women living with at least one female, non-relative roommate and no spouses.

Getting the right match is important
In Baltimore, Maryland, NeighborWorks affiliate
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center uses a match-up process that ensures all homeowners and potential renters get the right fit.  The screening process includes a background check, verification of income and a home inspection, and applicants must provide a list of their interests and living preferences.

Like what you hear so far?
Register today for NeighborWorks’
next symposium in Atlanta, Georgia on August 10, which will focus on ensuring safe, healthy homes and communities for seniors. The day will include discussions on a broad range of issues and opportunities for seniors as homeowners and renters, including a session on Aging in Place, where Rebecca Sheppard with St. Ambrose will talk about shared housing.
The National Shared Housing Resource Center also has more information, including a directory of  local shared housing opportunities for seniors.