Guest post by Bonnie Moore
It’s called the Golden Girls Lifestyle and it is shared housing for mature adults! This movement has received extensive national media coverage and has been embraced as a major addition to the aging-in-place conversation for the baby boomer population.
People across the country are looking for answers because housing cost are too high for retirees. People are lonely when kids grow up and the spouse is no longer around. Many struggle financially. Shared housing seems to be a great answer.
“FIND THE RIGHT PERSON” is at the top of the list when you decide on this adventure. But, who is right for you? How do you know? Start with, “Who am I, and what is important to me?” When you know these answers, you know who you are looking for!
Start by considering common issues. Deal-breakers are different for everyone, and you may have some issues that aren’t on this list:
Does she/he smoke? Is it OK with you if the person is an outside smoker?
Will she/he bring a pet? Sometimes pets don’t like to move, and they let you know. Bringing in a new pet is a “two-fer!”
Are there cultural or lifestyle differences that will become too difficult? I encourage diversity, but sometimes you can live next door to someone but not in the same house. For instance, are there significant differences in religious practices, eating habits, hobbies, political interests, working hours, and a bunch of other things that are important for a comfortable living situation? You have to decide what works for you, and then talk about it.
Age Differences. Look for a roommate that is within ten years of your age, and don’t go beyond twenty years on either side. With too much of a difference, you will notice the age nuances and it will frustrate you!
Cleanliness factors. Most women are accustomed to housework and will keep a place in good shape. Some women, however, really need things to be back in their places immediately, every spot wiped off the counter, and the floor swept daily. If this is you, find someone like you. If this is not you, same advice.
Can you get along with her personality? Are you fairly assertive and outgoing? Are you quiet and bookish? How would you assess the personality of a potential roommate? Can you sense an “angry” factor beneath the surface? How would you assess the “honesty factor”?
Interviewing a potential roommate is a lot like a job interview. She will tell you what you want to hear. It is your job to listen below the surface and hear danger signals. Trust your intuition. Selecting a GOOD roommate takes patience, but it can be done. You also learn a great deal about yourself and you learn to develop assertiveness!
Once you identify the factors that are important to you, start advertising and talking to your friends. Print up a flyer and pass it out at your church or community groups, developing a listing on some of the major roommate sites, including Golden Girls Network, and keep talking about it! Don’t be afraid to interview a number of people before making a decision.
Most of all, start developing your written house agreements and a written lease. Even if you decide to rent on a month-to-month basis, you need it in writing. Don’t take anything for granted…get those details down in writing. Be positive and forthright, and decide what is important to you.
About the Author:
Six years ago, Bonnie Moore divorced and was living in a large five-bedroom home that had just been remodeled. She didn’t want to leave her dream home, but she couldn’t afford to stay, so she started looking for roommates and found friends!
People started asking her what it was like to live with a bunch of women, and she went into business helping others achieve financial security and companionship as mature adults. She developed a registry called Golden Girls Network where mature adults can register either as a homeowner or as a housemate and can search other people who have registered and connect for the purpose of becoming roommates.
She also wrote a book called How to Start a Golden Girls Home and teaches a conference call workshop using this book.