Author, journalist, and Baby Boomer expert Sally Abrahms spoke recently on the NPR program “Take Care” on the growing phenomenon of older women choosing to live together. Hosts Linda Lowen and Lorraine Rapp asked her why this house-sharing trend is growing so strongly? These are the underlying reasons that Sally shared:
More Women Over 50 Are Single
The rate of divorce for Americans 50 and over doubled between 1990 and 2010. This has resulted, of course, in a surge in the number of single women, many of whom would prefer not to live alone – either for financial reasons, because of loneliness, for safety, for assistance with home maintenance, or any combination of these factors.
On average, women live longer than men, too – so the natural attrition of men in the older population also contributes to the growing number of single women as the population ages.
Today more than one-third of people 50-plus are single. One-quarter are divorced. And among women over 50, 7 out of 10 live alone.
Women Are Increasingly Determined to Age In Place
The growing determination of Boomer women to “age in place” makes finding a roommate a very practical and attractive option. Having a roommate to share expenses makes it possible for many to keep their homes, who might otherwise have to sell and move. Also, roommates could provide assistance to one another – sharing chores, providing care if someone becomes ill or injured, or one roommate taking over certain things around the house that the other roommate might become unable to do.
The Sharing Economy Is Influencing The Choice To Share Housing
The “sharing economy” is a growing trend too. It seems that our way of thinking about the need for privacy and exerting sole dominion over one’s home is changing, giving way to a growing willingness to consider a more communal style of life.
How Many People Over 50 Are Sharing Housing Today?
Over 1 million households have people age 46 to 64 who are sharing their homes with roommates. And, a growing number of online services are springing up to help older roommates find one another – Roommates4Boomers of course being one of them.