Sharing a home makes sense

joyfulguyApril 6, 2003

As I've dealt with a number of seniors over a number of years, I find that many have a great reluctance to leave their own home to enter a retirement home.

Partly reluctance to change, to give up many of one's cherished possessions, etc.

Also reluctance to lose independence - to have one's life regimented by the routine of the institution, I think.

For a number, it's the high cost, as well, I think.

I've often suggested that a number of seniors who are bordering on a situation where it's becoming too much for them to keep their home in shape, or have a disability, etc. that they consider having two or four, five or six share a household. Three wouldn't work - two would join forces and third would be out of the loop. Bad news.

There are a number of reasons to recommend such a plan. Household chores could be shared. Less regimentation: get up when you feel like it. If you want to spend the whole night on the computer, it doesn't mess up the system. Eat what you like, when you like. They would have better nutrition: not just "a cup of tea and a sandwich". Intellectual stimulation. Possibly more physical activity. More likely to go out together to share in community and seniors' activities. Alleviation of loneliness. Another person to notice deterioration of health, encourage seeking medical care, alerting other family members, etc. Someone on hand in case of falling, medical emergency, etc. to provide assistance and call for help. Much less costly than living in a retirement facility.

It would need to be a home that's new to all, for if it was the former home of one of the participants, it would be hard for that person to allow living standards to change by democratic vote, concensus, etc. - s/he'd think that s/he should be boss.

Everyone says that it won't work - that people are too independent, set in their ways.

If someone moves a piece of furniture more than a couple of inches - there'd be a fight.

I've shared living space with others on a number of occasions and periods in my life, so have learned the necessary give and take of shared living.

It seems to me a shame that hardly anyone is interested.

Your comments, please.

joyful guy/Ed

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I keep thinking about this thread and it does sound like a good idea for people who know each other and eveen perhaps like each other. My main thought is that the best thing would be if there was not an owner - renter situation.....If say 4 people got together and leased a home....that way no one would be the boss. They could also set some ground rules before moving in together.....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2003 at 12:32PM
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Hello again, all,

I am surprised that there has not been more discussion on this topic.

It seems to me that this idea or similar concepts are worth discussing, as many seniors live alone - and find the chores, costs, loneliness, worry about a serious health problem and no one knowing of it for some time as well as other issues, of substantial concern.

But feel rather negative to the idea of moving into an institution - regardless of how "homey" one may call the place.

Good wishes to all for a happy, healthy, prosperous weekend - enjoying friends in part of it,

joyful guy

    Bookmark   May 31, 2003 at 9:15AM
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"The Golden Girls" worked on TV, I really doubt it would work in real life as smoothly. I've got my mother, full time for the summer, and it just ain't working! Be glad to get back to FL where she can stay in her own 'digs'.

The older we get, the more set in our ways we get. Even with a 'new house' for all to set out with, the temp is going to be too hot or too cold, the meat too rare or too well done, peas too soggy or not cooked enough.

I think that the people you are imagining would have had to be friends from 'way back' to be able to co-exist harmoniously.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2003 at 1:45AM
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I've thought that it would be really helpful if there were an outsider quite closely connected, sort of like a den mother, who came in often and had such a jolly disposition that she gets along with everyone.

To listen to everyone's griping, which for many brings down the temperature of the problem somewhat, carry on some mediation from time to time, and just keep things moving along smoothly.

It seems to me that with so many obvious advantages obtainable, it's worth some serious consideration of such projects.

Good wishes for continued health of mind, body and spirit in your retirement.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 7:05PM
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And what do you do if one of the others has a stroke, gets Alzheimers, becomes seriously ill and requires nursing care? becomes blind? requires surgery? Could you be sure that you would be able to handle the situation?

Do you just tell them to move on? Should the remaining healthy one saddle herself with the burden of someone not close kin? Suppose they don't see the need to move, or they feel that YOU should be the one to leave.

And as time goes on, you can bet that one of the Sharers will need more funds than is available, does the other one take on more of the expense?

How would you end the association when one became a burden to the other. We aren't talking about a marriage here, we are talking about something that could become a disaster.

And, unless the other person has no family at all, you could find yourself with all sorts of problems from the kinfold making themselves at home.

Sharing a home would be 'waaaayyyy down on my list of sensible things to do.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2003 at 9:22AM
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My view is that it would be like an extension of living in one's own home - if one had a serious stroke, or developed Alzheimer's, it would not have been possible for that person to continue to have lived alone in his/her (former) home.

Similarly, it would be part of the agreement that people could continue to live there as long as they could pretty well maintain themselves.

I can see the other members of the household doing all the chores and carrying food to a member who was ill - for a temporary period, if there were substantial hope of the person being able to recover and able to resume their share of the duties related to maintaining the home in the foreseeable future.

Actually, it might well be possible for one to live longer in such a home than alone in their own home, for the chores would be shared, so less onerous on each resident. And if there were concern for the person suffering some trauma with no help immediately available, that situation would be of deeper concern for someone living alone that if there were three or four others in the residential unit.

It would be similar to the situation in a residential home - when the inhabitant isn't able to maintain themselves any longer, but need more than a minimal amount of attendant care, they would be required to move to a nursing home.

If you aren't able to pay your way in the average residential home for seniors - you aren't going to continue to be there very long. Lacking some kind of governmental support. Actually - it would be much cheaper for the government to pay such a group home for the needy person to continue to live there, rather than moving to a residential home, as it would be much less constly than care in a residential home (but dealing with the red tape would be a major issue, no doubt, for this situation would not be part of the regular system).

As for free-loading guests - I can eat with my friend in her residential home - but someone must pay for it. Of course, if that person comes to my place to eat, the nursing home does not pay me.

There might be a fee for overnight, at the group's discretion, and a fee for outsiders to have meals there.

Which the inhabitants might well ignore, if the guest's visit were a rare event. In many cases, if there were a guest for one meal, the other residents might consider the occasion sort of a bright spot in the day, and might choose to forego payment on the part of the resident whose friend the guest was. Otherwise, when settlement time came at month end, the number of guest meals would be part of the bill.

Having a congenial person as sort of "house mother" would help in such situations - an outsider to blame for the rather unattractive, if necessary, action.

Good wishes to you all - for continued health of body, mind and spirit ... and for making new friends (to replace the ones that we lose, unfortunately),

joyful guy

    Bookmark   July 29, 2003 at 9:19PM
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My mom would hate that, if she can't stay at home she wants to go to a care home, she already has it picked out. She said, "I don't want to live with my kids". I don't think I would mind a roomer in a have to case. But I would take roomers in rather than renting. The idea is to stay in your home. Kansas used to have an office that matched seniors up with room mates, because a lot of seniors can't afford to live alone. My husbands aunt and her husband had a male roomer and when the uncle died the roomer stayed on and did the heavy jobs around the house. It worked well for them. I always said if something happened that I couldn't afford to maintain my home I would take in a roomer, someone with references. I can convert my basement to an apartment. As far as one person having a stroke and needing special help that would be the time for that person to go to a home. Seniors can't do that kind of work at their age. I agree with my mom, I do not want my children caring for me. I would not want my children changing my diapers or bathing me. It would be easier to have a stranger. I don't want my kids to be relieve when I die.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 6:27PM
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Ed, I think that is a wonderful idea. If adults who are in fairly good health could live together and kinda help each other out where each can, and be company to each other, I would love that kind of situation. We are fortunate to have a couple of thousand sq. ft. covered area outside of our living area of our home. I have often thought that if DH leaves this world before me, I would like to use part of that area to make a comfortable apartment for either just me or me and a mate to live in and rent out my main home,or either I could stay in the home either by myself or with companions and have either for extra income and at the same time, enjoy company of other adults. This arrangement seems very reasonable for me also. I can get a long with the devil himself (I'm am very layed back) so I don't think that I would have problems living with "reasonably behaved" lol companions. It would certainly beat being put in a nursing home facility that costs so much these days.
Heck, Ed. We might need each other someday. lol The only thing is, this old chick is not leaving Louisiana! You'd have to come waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down south. lol

    Bookmark   August 11, 2003 at 11:02AM
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It is a good idea and I've seen something similar in small 'group' homes in Calif.
Seniors who were independent could move into a home that had a limit of 6-8 adults in the household. A full time caretaker also lived on the premises and did most of the cooking, cleaning, etc. I went into one of these establishments briefly (to help retrieve a small dog that would not come from under the bed) and was impressed with the arrangements. I didn't get a full tour of the premises, but the only thing I felt missing was a large area, other than the dining room, that would allow boarders a place to gather and hangout in. Otherwise, the bedrooms were huge and allowed visitors private, comfortable time with the resident.
I think it could be successful if all the residents take part in daily activities, enjoy being active, and share similar interests.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2003 at 6:01PM
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Maybe Louisiana in winter - and somehwere near here in summer?

But I'd have a hard time in Louisiana - with this clipped, short English. Seems to me that you folk take half a day to say a sentence.

Oh, yeah - it's that "laid back" stuff.

At least - it probably delays having to deal with heart attacks.

Enjoy each day of fall. Hope you find something new and interesting in each one.

It's a poor day that you don't learn something.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 11:55PM
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Have all of the possible opinions on this subject been expressed?

As I spoke of in the original post, there are several good reasons to recommend the concept.

Still seems a good idea to me.

How do you react to the idea?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 28, 2003 at 5:25AM
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Joyful Ed, I like your plan.

Many times in life I have wished for a return to the college dorm life of the 1960s. Or the campsite of the '70s. Or to own a very big old house and grounds for many activities and friends.

I'm 60, usually single. Back in my hometown, after 35 years of renting apartments, I have bought a small house with a big yard to garden. Best part is the comraderie of the neighbors.

Now I will include your descriptions in my wishing.

Living with a loosely joined group of like minded souls, as you describe (or did I make up the like-minded part? minds like mine, of course, or quiet and sweet if not, of course) to share the joys and pains of the final decade or an excellent dream and makes good sense.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2003 at 6:24PM
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