It is said that home is where the heart is. But now more than ever, our lives are increasingly mobile, and home does not necessarily mean what it used to. “Home” may not be that stable touchstone it once was, the place where decades — and even whole generations — of memories were made.
Indeed, perhaps now more than ever, the only constant is change. And for single women of the Baby Boomer generation, in particular, such changes often mean that home isn’t just where the heart is. Housing options, for these women, are wherever and whatever you choose.
Housing Challenges for Single Women Over 50
The Baby Boomer generation is, in many ways, unlike any generation to ever come before it. This is the generation that put a man on the moon, that ended a war, that fought the good fight for equal rights, that put women into the workforce en masse, and that gave rise to the single-parent household.
Now, however, as women of the Baby Boomer era begin to reach retirement age, may are confronted with significant challenges in finding secure and affordable housing options. This is a particular challenge for single women who may find it difficult to accommodate rising home prices on a fixed retirement income.
And that has many women getting creative when it comes to alternative housing strategies.
The Rise of Communal Housing
Communal housing for senior women isn’t an option you only see on weeknight reruns of The Golden Girls. What worked for Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia is proving to be just as beneficial for Baby Boomer women in the real world.
Communal living can be an ideal solution for single senior women, not only from a financial perspective but also from a social one. House sharing enables women to distribute the financial and physical burdens of maintaining a household. The ability to split expenses can be a tremendous help for women on a fixed income. In addition, communal living can help those with health challenges remain in a private home for longer, than relocating to an assisted living facility or moving in with an adult child.
Sharing a house, of course, requires adjustment and compromise. After all, it may be the first time since college that you have lived with people not related to you. It takes time to find the rhythm of the household.
Make your living space your own
To make the adjustment easier, however, it’s critical to create a private space that is uniquely, wonderfully, welcomingly your own. When you are house sharing, chances are that your private space will be your bedroom, so tend to it with extra tender loving care.
Infuse it with your personality, such as by displaying personal collections, from photos to memorabilia, and by decorating the space with artwork that sings to you. This way, you will also have a retreat that feels intimately and indisputably your own.
Downsizing Your Digs
As great as the rewards of communal living may be for many people, it’s certainly not for everyone. Fortunately, house sharing is far from the only housing option.
You can still live independently and comfortably without breaking the bank. For example, many Baby Boomer women are trading in their large and expensive homes for single-bedroom or studio apartments.
Many Baby Boomer women are taking their downsizing to the next level, trading in their traditional homes for tiny home living. So-called “granny pods” are, indeed, a growing trend for single women over 50, offering financial freedom and easy upkeep.
Making such a leap, of course, takes time and planning. Before selling your home, for instance, there are certain simple upgrades you can make to add value to your home, such as adding a new front door or changing out those tired bathroom fixtures. Those little details can mean big profits in the selling of your home, and that’s going to help set you up brilliantly for the second act of your life.
Downsizing your home, though, doesn’t have to mean downsizing your style. Small apartments can still be big on style with a bit of strategy. For example, indulging in sumptuous drapery and oversized rugs in bold patterns will make your small space feel grand.
Which housing option is for you?
Single life over the age of 50 has its challenges. But it also offers its adventures and getting creative in where you choose to make your next home is one of them. You might decide that communal living is the best option, enabling you to find friends who soon become family. On the other hand, you may prefer to create your own tiny space, whether that means snagging your studio apartment or getting groovy in your new granny pod.
Are you a single older woman looking for a new living situation? What type of option appeals to you? Please leave a comment below.