While it’s not uncommon for younger people to have room mates, or to be in a co-living arrangement, but when you think about seniors and co-living, what do you think of? Many of us immediately think of The Golden Girls and the antics the ladies got up to.
But is co-living a thing in this day and age? If so, what are the pros and cons of co-living? And how might one go about it, if they wanted to?
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What is co-living?
Also known as cohabitation or having a room mate, co-living refers to anyone who shares a home space or lives with someone else, usually a person who is not a family member. This often occurs in a private home, when the main occupant of the home decides to take in a room mate (or two or three).
Co-housing complexes or communities are a relatively new arrangement in the U.S., but are also quite interesting. These complexes are built for “intentional living” and are designed so that seniors spend much of their time together, having both shared and private spaces. They differ from assisted living situations in that there is no medical support in a strictly co-housing community.
What are the pros and cons of cohabitation?
Living with other people in a space has plusses and minuses, at any age:
- Saving money. For those on a fixed income, this is a big bonus. By sharing costs, we can make our money go much further.
- You will have company and maybe even a good friend. If you and your room mate are compatible, you might end up with a new best friend in the process. Emotional support and friendship go a long way to combat isolation and loneliness.
- Share in the chores. Either sharing in the chores or sharing paying to have the cleaning done is a big bonus. Who wouldn’t want someone to help them keep the home clean?
- Share in friendship and daily experiences. There is nothing better than to have someone to share everyday experiences with. If you choose the right cohabitant, it can be a wonderful thing.
- Reliability of room mate. If your room mate is good with money or also on a fixed income and good at paying their share of the bills, then all is well. If not, things can be quite challenging.
- You might not get along at all. This can make for an awkward situation if you end up living with someone who is your total opposite and can be challenging in day-to-day life.
- Maybe they’re messy. Perhaps the person whom you choose to share the home with is a big slob. You might end up in an “Odd Couple” situation that may not be very enjoyable.
- You’ll have less privacy. Having someone in your home means overall, you’ll have less privacy, whether it’s in the living spaces, the kitchen or even in the bathroom.
Co-living with a room mate (or more than one) is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. It can enrich a person’s life or be less than optimum. Consider all options and maybe weigh in with family members before deciding if cohabitation is for you. Careful pre-meditation and decision making will help you make the best choice for yourself.
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