Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
Boomers Fall 2019
- Page 10
Pros and Cons of Home Sharing
By Melissa Erickson

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People of all ages are reinventing the family home by inviting relatives, friends and even compatible strangers to cohabitate. Long-term home sharing is a growing trend, especially among older women who turn to this option for companionship, socialization and economics.

“Home sharing among aging adults a la ‘Golden Girls’ isn’t a wholly new concept, but we’re seeing a bigger movement than ever for a couple of reasons,” said Kelly Hickey, co-founder of Silvernest, an online home-sharing platform that pairs baby boomers and empty nesters with long-term roommates. “One is that boomers represent the fastestgrowing demographic. There are currently 109 million Americans over 50, and that number is expected to grow to 132 million by 2030. By comparison, there are just 75 million millennials.”

It’s a good option for retirees, empty nesters and other aging adults with unused or underused space in their homes, Hickey said.

“Many people have been in a position where they’ve watched their family and other loved ones age and have to move out of their home, and I think what’s happening with boomers and empty nesters is that they’re realizing that they want an alternative. They want a place to stay where they’ve lived for a long time, to remain in their communities, and they aspire to age in place,” Hickey said.

Many Silvernest clients seek similarly aged housemates, but there are quite a few who are also interested in intergenerational living situations.

“We even recently launched a program where we’re matching younger educators with boomer homeowners who are willing to offer them reduced rent, so they can live in the areas where they teach,” Hickey said.

“Home sharing can work in different ways. Someone can share her home with someone else or others, or everyone can move into a new house,” said writer and consultant Sally Abrahms, an expert on baby boomers, aging and senior housing.

The financial benefits are a big draw; it costs less to share expenses, said Abrahms, author of “Not Your Mother’s Retirement.” A majority of people want to stay in their homes, but 54% don’t expect that they will be able to, according to a 2018 AARP study.

“There’s also the safety and security that comes with cohabitating with someone else,” Hickey said.

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