Part 2of 2:
In our first article in this series, we discussed the growing attractiveness of shared housing for seniors. Shared housing pairs or places roommates into a home with seniors. This type of housing offers companionship, financial help, and the ability to “age in place.” Shared housing is growing more popular across the country, and is especially beneficial to seniors who want to remain independent.
Across the country, a number of local and national organizations have sprouted up to provide help to those interested in shared housing. Among them is the National Shared Housing Resource Center (NSHRC), which disperses information to parties interested in shared housing. Across the US, localized organizations provide resources to seniors in cities and regions to connect them to shared housing. Among these programs is the volunteer-based “Golden Girl Homes” operating out of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
“Golden Girl Homes” aims to bring together community women form households that combine resources. The organization prides itself on offering women “both privacy and company,” allowing them to live independently as seniors but also with local women as companions. By offering training sessions to local women, the organization gives women a sense of who would benefit from the program—and whether they’re a match for it. These sessions arm women with a plan for the future, something that isn’t often found in senior housing.
In addition to “Golden Girl Homes,” the University of Michigan’s Housing Bureau for Seniors (HBS) has been matching housemates since the 1970s. In addition to matching seniors with housemates, HBS can be used to mediate conflict, clarify situations, and make changes if problems do occur. Providing seniors with the support to set up and maintain such set-ups is a huge help, as it gives them a sense of relief that can sometimes be associated with being a landlord.
Shared housing organizations extend across cities, states, and regions. Depending on where you live, you can find resources to help you or your loved one access this excellent form of independent living. In New York state, a number of organizations exist to provide such services to seniors; among the most interesting is Harvest Houses on Long Island. Harvest Houses provides a living space for eight seniors to live in a family atmosphere. It has been recognized as the “only successful shared housing model in New York State.”
Despite Harvest Houses fantastic reputation, other resources exist in New York State. The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens has a home sharing and matching program for seniors. The New York government’s Aging division also provides resources for home sharing. At this point, however, there doesn’t seem to be an organization operating in the Buffalo area that can provide seniors with these resources.
Shared housing is a fantastic way for seniors to live independently and cooperatively; it provides them with financial resources, companionship, and helps maintain a sense of community. As the trend grows more and more, organizations providing services to seniors will also grow. This cooperative lifestyle will mean that seniors can live privately and in a community; it also helps to relieve the burden on family members who cannot always be there for their loved ones.