Turns out that the ladies on The Golden Girls may have had it all figured out. They sure looked like they were having a lot fun and an increasing number of studies are showing that communal living among older women is becoming increasingly popular. Not only is having a roommate financially beneficial, it is also an important tool in fighting isolation, which can cause and exacerbate existing health problems. Renting out your spare bedroom or moving into to a larger home split among several roommates will actually help you live longer.
There are several reasons why this trend is especially popular among women:
- Women live longer. On average, American women outlive men by 5-6 years and among the 73 people on record who are currently alive and over the age of 110, 70 of those are women.
- More than one-third of women ages 65 and older now live alone due to divorce, loss of a spouse to death or the decision to remain single.
- In general , women are more social than men and form tight bonds with other women.
Why it is beneficial:
- If you don’t socialize regularly, you increase your risk of rapid health decline by 59% and you will have a 45% greater risk of dying.
- Having roommates will allow you to better handle home maintenance and allow you to stay in your home longer.
- Having someone nearby who is aware of your routine can be vital in case of an emergency.
This trend is becoming so popular that there are a variety of services, apps, and workshops now available that help seniors enter into house-sharing arrangements. For example, the non-profit group Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA) helps screen and match potential roommates free of charge. The ALA approximates that around 130,000 household in the US are made up of people over the age of 50 who have not related or romantically involved.
Click here to read about senior roommates Enid Holt-Harper and Ammahnda Adolphson who were matched up through the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.
Luckily, there are so many people out there looking to create a household that it can be surprisingly easy to get matched up with one or more people in your area who share common goals.
The future of aging is starting to look more and more like The Golden Girls.