It’s no secret that aging is changing – but what does that really mean?! First of all, the pros are plentiful! In response to demand, seniors communities are becoming foodie havens (with top chefs and envious menus!), technology is being adopted and adapted in more meaningful and worthwhile ways and more retirement communities in urban settings are driving inter-generational living and the many advantages that come with it.
While senior living options are more diverse, luxurious and transformative than ever – there is one cohort of our aging community that needs our attention: solo agers. Pew Research reports that 20% of Baby Boomers do not have children and will be aging alone (also accounting for those facing the loss of a spouse); millions more retirees live thousands of miles away from loved ones. With housing affordability decreasing and the health risks of isolation increasingly apparent, what’s a solo ager to do?
The Washington Post reports one solution: the Golden Girls trend! And it’s about more than eating cheesecake and retiring in a sunny, palm-tree flooded oasis – it’s about community, practicality and connectivity! According to Gary Painter from USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, “…shared living in the last decade has exploded, especially in cities where housing costs are quite high”. Furthermore, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reports that in the decade leading up to 2016, the population of those aged 65 and over grew 33%, while older home-sharers jumped 88%.
Wondering how getting a roommate is really a viable solution from a social and financial perspective? Many seniors choose to age-in-place because the costs of moving are too high to make it ‘worth it’. However, as older individuals lose the ability to drive, social isolation becomes increasingly common. Yet moving to a walkable location is often cost-prohibitive, as desirable metro areas come with high price tags. The so-called Golden Girl trend promotes shared housing in amenity-filled, walkable communities where the high housing costs are shared – as are the experiences and opportunities that come with it! Sharing rent, space and time is often a win-win for solo agers.
Marianne Kilkenny, founder of Women for Living in Community, declares that as we age, we desire social connection, but the path does not currently exist. But it may soon, as Forbes suggests that newer senior communities could fill this gap by including duplex units, re-configuring existing residence to accommodate roommate living of non-couples and including 3-bedroom offerings for Golden Girls-type arrangements.
Here at T-O-P Move Management, we are thrilled to see the evolution of aging as one that is outside the box of tradition and into the heart of what matters. If you need assistance accommodating a roommate or re-organizing your household to meet your changing aging needs, we’d be more than honored to assist!