When military members serve their country, they have a brigade, a battalion, a shipmate, a battle buddy and many other forms of community and connection. But after they hang up their beret or Kevlar, they have a different battle to fight: loneliness.
Social Isolation and Related Challenges Among Veterans
A VA-funded study explored the impact of social isolation on veterans and found loneliness was tied to the highest levels of depression and suicidal ideation. Older adult veterans are even more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation than their younger counterparts—and most veterans are older. Recent VA reporting shows 78.3 percent of veterans in the United States are above the age of 45, with the average age being 58.
Old combat injuries can lead to physical limitations that only increase social isolation. The loss of loved ones and children leaving home compounds the problem, as do financial difficulties associated with fixed income and the housing crisis.
So what are these veterans (and their loved ones) to do?
Homesharing: Much More Than a Lease Agreement
The picture is not as bleak as it might seem. Advances in technology have allowed for the development of the sharing economy—and it’s not just for getting rides or finding vacation rentals. Homesharing allows homeowners to profit from an asset they already own while improving their day-to-day quality of life and creating companionship. Unlike a tenant-landlord relationship, homesharing relationships are based on mutual commonalities and preferences—the homeowner and housemate choose to live together and enrich both their lives in the process. That means veterans can find housemates with similar interests, backgrounds, and lifestyles.