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Middle-Age Roommates: The New House Sharing Trend

Author: Leslie Farin

Singles 50+ living together can provide unexpected benefits.

I’m at the age where couples in my circle of friends are starting to become widowed or divorced. These events create lifestyle changes that are extremely difficult both emotionally and financially for many.

What’s the next step? Some of my friends say their house is too large or contains too many memories. For others, it is just too lonely to stay by themselves. I also have friends who simply can no longer afford the upkeep.

Statistically, one out of three boomers will likely face old age without a spouse for a variety of reasons. Adult children often live far away. Finding a like-minded person with whom to share space and expenses might be worth considering.

“I’m too old for a roommate!”

Many of us had roommates when we were younger. Some of the situations were good, others not so much. “Me? Live with a stranger? Never!” is the typical response I get when I broach the subject of shared housing. Boomers do not generally think about roommates when trying to figure out their next living situation, but this arrangement is the new reality for an increasing number of people over 50 – and it might not be such a bad thing.

Roommates can help pay the rent or mortgage. They can share the chores. Best of all, roommates can help keep each other socially active and healthy during a major life change.

The new house sharing trend

It may seem like a strange living situation, but you will be in good company if you go this route. Conditions are ripe to make this arrangement a realistic option for many. Living longer, rising housing and health care costs, and feeling safer with someone else in the house are all benefits of having a roommate. The option to age at home without feeling isolated is also an attractive reason to share housing. Annamarie Pluhar, a shared-housing consultant and author of Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates says, “Having someone say, ‘How is your day?’ and having a social connection feeds the soul.”

In 2017, nearly 79 million adults (31.9% of the adult population) lived in a shared household – that is, a household with at least one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or unmarried partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student. In 1995, the earliest year with comparable data, 55 million adults (28.8%) lived in a shared household.

How to find the right roommate

Ask yourself:

  • Does she meet your requirements about what you must have in a housemate? Examples: a productive life, considerate and flexible, good values, a realistic vision of what living together entails, common expectations about the arrangement.
  • What are deal breakers for you? A boyfriend who will be sleeping over a lot? A pet? Someone who is messy or doesn’t have boundaries? Something else?
  • Is she financially stable?
  • What do her references say? If she’s home-shared before, what do her housemates think of her? Get at least two references. Ask about her strengths and weaknesses and if there’s anything you should know.
  • Lastly, have you done an internet search on her name to learn more about her?


Middle aged roommates

A roommate situation may be a good option for you if you need to share expenses, want company, or both. Doing so my allow you to live in a nicer space and perhaps create a new and lasting friendship. Have you tried it? Would you be willing to consider this type of living situation? We’d love to hear from you!



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