Women Housemates in 55+ Communities

Women Housemates in 55+ Communities

Co-housing: Golden Girls and Boomer Housemates

Today over a third of all baby boomers are unmarried and the majority of single boomers consists of women. As this vast generation rushes into retirement, these mature ladies face a growing concern: Who can they turn to when health issues and infirmity make them less able to live independently?

Often, boomer-aged women consider the many sons, daughters, nieces and nephews in their family circle as a safeguard against the day when they potentially cannot live independently any longer. But realistically, those family members in the younger generation have their own families, spouses, in-laws, children, flourishing careers, and financial woes and it is not always realistic or reasonable to expect everyday help from them.

Alternately, many single senior women are loath to give up the independence of living on their own, fearing that if they move in with family members, they will be treated more like children than the mature, experienced, intelligent adults they are. They aren't ready to be taken care of, but understand the need for some support and companionship in their lives and around the house as they get older.

A growing trend for older single women is the Golden Girls neighborhood, or some similar permutation of women housemates within supportive 55+ communities. Age-restricted communities of all kinds offer the security of gated neighborhoods, a circle of like-minded friends in the same age group, and many common facilities such as pools, spas, fitness centers, business centers and shuttles and today some single boomer women are looking to share housing with others in the same boat in this kind of community. 55+ communities across the nation are seeing a growing movement of retirement-aged women forming group-housing arrangements with other single peers.

Whether for reasons of safety and security, companionship, transportation, or financial help, baby-boomer women are finding it convenient to band together and share homes in retirement communities. It makes great financial sense, as many single senior women on retirement income cannot afford a nice single-family home of their own in the age-restricted community of their choice but if many women pool their resources, they can share the conveniences and luxuries of such a home. The resulting living arrangement can be something like a combination of a family and a sorority house, with a close-knit group of friends keeping an eye on each other, sharing expenses and transportation, and cooperatively accomplishing housekeeping where one individual might struggle to get it all done by herself.

A similar development is being seen in age-restricted apartment and condominium communities, as groups of single women are purchasing or renting units that are all on the same floor. In this way, these women have the privacy and independence of living in a private residence, but the expanded circle of friends and supportive sisterly environment of a group of like-minded women who are there to support and help each other when the need arises.

It is important, if considering such a Golden Girls housing situation, to carefully select housemates who are compatible and sociable, but who also have a strong sense of independence. Boomer women in this kind of living arrangement usually live their own separate lives and pursue their own interests, but they know that they can gather in common areas of the house to socialize as well. If a group of women who are not familiar with each other's habits and personalities jumps too quickly into a shared housing situation, expectations regarding shared space and resources, quiet hours, visitors, and so on need to be made clear and agreed upon in advance, to avoid costly, stressful aggravations in the future.

Golden Girls communities and co-housing alternatives will likely become popular options with the single baby-boomer women moving into retirement age in the near future. The support, companionship, security, financial help, and convenience of living with a built-in social group of women one's own age make it an attractive way of life for women who want independence but need to know they are not alone.

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13 Sep 2016


By By Robert Fowler
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