Helping Our Aging Parents Find Extra Income and Reduce Loneliness with Home Sharing

Posted by Kari Henley on May 24, 2016 1:15:50 PM
Kari Henley

Do you have an aging parent who is living alone? Is it hard to spend the kind of quality time with them that you would like? Many working millenials and Gen X adults live such busy lives, the opportunities to visit our aging parents becomes few and far between. Family dinners or holiday celebrations are easier to host at home rather than trucking to Grandma’s house, and guilt often arises that long stretches of time goes by without a visit.


I have heard so many stories since I started working with Silvernest to confirm this is a real problem. Recently, a woman in her thirties shared her concerns about her 69-year-old mother. “My father died last year, and now my mother is so lonely living by herself that everyone is taking turns staying at the house to keep her company! We can’t do that forever, would love to find a roommate that she can talk to.”


She is not alone. Over 40% of women over the age of 65 will lose their husbands in the next 5 years, and over a quarter of couples divorce after age 50. Whether single by choice, divorce or widowhood, a majority end up living by themselves. Their two greatest concerns? Finding additional sources of income and managing social isolation.


Silvernest is here to help. Home sharing is not an idea that immediately comes to mind for many older adults. While most baby boomers grew up having a house full of multiple generations and Sunday dinners with aunts, uncles and cousins around, the idea of having a roommate at an older age just doesn’t register as an option. Sometimes, it is the adult children who can best recommend the idea, and help to create the profile and get the ball rolling.


Today there are more than 10,000 people turning 65 every day, and at least one third are living alone. Research out of Brigham Young University finds living alone and feeling lonely makes you more likely to die faster than having diabetes, obesity or who are smokers. That is a scary statistic.


For many, the rising costs of living is forcing retirees on fixed incomes into poverty status to simply keep up, or they are forced to sell, downsize or rent. Older adults don’t often want their adult children to know they are financially struggling. Today nearly 90% of adults over age 65 have less than $60,000 saved in the bank.


One of the quickest and easiest ways to earn significant extra monthly income is to rent a room to a compatible roommate. An average room rents for approximately $600-$800 per month. To receive that amount from a retirement annuity, that person would have had to save over $360,000.


Silvernet is specifically focused on the needs of the homeowner 50+ who is exploring home sharing. We offer a level of personal matching that is unheard of in the industry, with background checks, compatibility matching features, online customized lease and automatic rent check direct deposit features, as well as online chat, customer support and homeowner tips to help make the experience as successful as possible.


Another Silvernest homeowner shared she had lived alone for many years, but the rising costs in her community were pricing her out of her fixed social security income. She explored selling her home and renting, but current rental prices are sky high, and rent often rises as much as 8% per year, with a 12-15 month leases before the rent goes up. While the rent may be affordable this year, what about next year?


Recent research from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners, reports as the massive Boomer population ages, their financial limitations will likely mean more rent-burdened older Americans. Already, the report notes, 30% of elderly renters use more than half of their income on housing.


If this is sounding all to familiar for your aging mother or father, check out the Silvernest site. It is free to create a profile for your aging parent. All you have to do is find a photo of them, grab your phone and shoot a few pictures of their space, fill in a few questions online and viola- a profile is up and ready to go. From there, as potential roommate matches come in, you can sit down with your parent, show them the profiles and discuss who may be a fit.
Sometimes just seeing a friendly face and reading about another person is all it takes.


“When I saw Donna’s picture, and read about her, I knew we would get along,” said Miriam, a Silvernest homeowner. “My daughter set up my account for me and helped me to get in contact with her by text. We met at a coffee shop and hit it off right away, and she moved in two weeks later. I thought I would be nervous, but I am excited for this new chapter in my life.”


For more information, check out our video blog on how the Silvernest homeowner profile works, and give it a try. Silvernest is here to change the face of aging; one match at a time.



Tags: Aging in Place, Lifestyle, Retirement, Social Isolation, Independence, Homeowners