Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you know how inflation has impacted everything we buy. Gas is still in the $5.00 per gallon range. Food prices have soared. For example, I have a favorite jam that I buy regularly. Just six months ago, I paid $3.49 a jar… now it’s $5.99, or $5.50 if you buy six jars at a time on Amazon.

And talk about rents! Outrageous!!! I almost fainted when I saw a 440 sq. ft. “closet” for rent for $1800 per month. That apartment is just a little bit larger than the size of my current bedroom. This revelation brought me to the point of this newsletter: Roommates! Are they right for you?

I’ve been happily single for the past 25 years. Some years were spent with a roommate, and others without. My first roommate was terrific. The second became a nightmare, as did the third, and hopefully, final. However, as wonderful as my first roommate was, after seven years together, we were both delighted to move on and get our own places.

As I get older and grumpier, I admit I am happiest living on my own. Those who know me would give that newsflash a high-five. Looking back, though, rents hadn’t yet risen into the stratosphere. I was younger. My income was higher. Having a roommate wasn’t so much a decision based upon finances, but on having fun and companionship. That was then. Things have changed.

For many seniors, living on social security or retirement benefits can make it difficult to maintain the kind of living situation they had during their working lives. Living on a fixed income provides challenges in an increasingly expensive world, particularly regarding the expense of maintaining living spaces. More and more, the trend is finding senior roommates to share the cost of housing. By sharing a traditional home, they can avoid the costs of nursing homes or another kind of care facility.

Although the “Golden Girls” sitcom first showcased senior house sharing on television, it’s become a popular living situation for many older adults. Senior house sharing has many benefits beyond the need to save money on housing costs. For many, it can provide an ideal independent living situation for companionship and safety.

Benefits of Senior House Sharing

Senior roommates provide many advantages for older people beyond helping with household expenses and chores, including:

  • Saving money
  • Companionship
  • Safety and independence

Saving Money

Saving money on shared living expenses is a major upside in senior home sharing. Older adults that opt to live together can save on rent, groceries, utilities, transportation, and general living expenses. Even health care and medical care are generally lower in cost when not residing in retirement communities.


One of the most significant benefits of shared housing is the companionship that a roommate can provide; mitigating the risk factors of social isolation. Social support has “a strong protective effect on seniors’ health.” A roommate can reduce feelings of social isolation, and perhaps provide a new and enduring friendship IF, and it’s a big IF, you find the right person with whom to share your home.  A roommate can also have a huge negative effect on your health. Hello Xanax! Goodbye roommate! It took me a year to recover!

Safety and Independence

Having a roommate offers other benefits as well. Having another person at home provides help when needed — as in the case of falling or needing medical care — as well as assistance with household responsibilities. Having another person close by, makes independent living more possible by eliminating some of the hazards of being alone.

How to Find a Senior Roommate

Having had both good and bad experiences with roommates, I think the best way to find the “right” person is going with someone you know, or by getting a referral from someone you trust. Even then, it’s critical for both of you to do your homework. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started:

  1. If you can, extemporaneously visit the person’s home. Is it a mess or is it clean and tidy? Could you live with the condition you see?
  2. Ask questions, such as: Does the potential roommate have pets or allergies? Do they like to play loud music? At what temperature do they keep their home? (Would you freeze or roast?) Are they night owls or early birds? In other words, find out as much as you can about how this person likes to live day to day. If you discover that a behavior drives you mad, run. It will only get worse.
  3. There are online sites that specifically match people looking for roommates. If you’re interested in finding a senior roommate for yourself or a loved one, the Seniorly team has a list of comprehensive resources that can help you find what you’re looking for. Simply call (855) 866-4515 or email them at help@seniorly.com.
  4. You can also visit Silvernest.com to immediately browse homes with shared housing available. It’s a terrific source of information.

It is important to remember that not all roommates are good ones. I know from experience that it’s almost impossible to extricate yourself from an intolerable roommate situation. Therefore, all contractual arrangements should have an ironclad escape clause — should things not work out. Every potential roommate should be evaluated with background checks and considered with a long-term living situation in mind. I highly recommend speaking with a real estate attorney before signing anything.

However, if things work out, a senior roommate arrangement can relieve the stress of fixed income living, offer valuable support, and potentially, provide great companionship; all of which make independent living possible. Happy hunting!!!

In support of you,


Quotes of the Month:

“I don’t need to pay a therapist to give me crap.  I have a roommate that does it for free.”

“Living with you has made me seriously think about living in my car.”

P.S. – To learn more retirement options or if you have any questions about Medicare, contact me at christina@christinamartel.com or call 949-677-7631.