Collegiate Life Redux: Older Adults Seeking Roommates for Inflationary Cost Sharing

Recent economic squeezes in the US due to inflation have affected food, gasoline, and home prices. These rates of high inflation have been affecting Americans across the entire age spectrum. Older adults, like millions of others in the US, have been facing uncertainty during big life changes. But The Hill reports on a new trend amongst the older cohort: older adults throwing back to their college days by looking for roommates! This is a new effort to split costs of living amid high inflation in the US. 

The Hill reports that rent prices grew nearly by 25% from pre-pandemic levels, and the housing market has pushed mortgages to a 20-year high, which may be converting potential homebuyers back into renters. These prices may be especially affecting older adults because most older adults live on fixed incomes, and it may be especially detrimental to have the cost of household utilities and goods rise so sharply. To offset some costs, older adults have turned to sharing their homes with others or offering empty rooms to renters to make some side income and keep afloat. An app now exists that helps older adults find roommates. It is called Silvernest, and although the service is open to anyone across the US aged 18 or better, the majority of the app’s clients are women in their 50s. 

This home sharing program may be attractive to some older adults who would like to welcome someone into their home to split paying for household utilities. Although it is unclear how long this trend of older adults seeking roommates will continue, there seems to be an indirect effect of older adults living with roommates: the socialization that could occur from no longer living alone.  

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Barnes, A. (2022). Pummeled by Cost of Living, Seniors are Looking for Roommates. The Hill.  

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