As we discussed in our recent blog on The Future of Housing for Seniors, today's seniors have options beyond a retirement residence. The timing of this shift is perfect, considering that The Government of Canada's Report on Housing Needs of Seniors found that although "Canada's almost six million seniors represent a complex and dynamic cohort, with diverse living arrangements and housing needs…most seniors desire to age in community." In other words, Canadians would prefer to age in place, in their existing home and community rather than move.
The challenge is accommodating this housing preference safely and affordably and the government's report acknowledges that many seniors face challenges aging in place, including in:
"Finding affordable housing
The ability to afford necessary adaptive changes
Limited access, or barriers to, mobility aids
Potential gaps in availability of appropriate services such as home care."
When one or more of these conditions are not met, that household is deemed to be living below acceptable housing standards. While these are the four main challenges, there are others, including accessibility, safety and environmental sustainability.
Those of us working within the sphere of senior housing are committed to helping older adults explore and create new living situations that better meet these needs and others, including achieving financial stability, maintaining the comfort of their current home, and reducing the physical tasks associated with property maintenance. As the Government of Canada points out, "housing options range from living independently in a single-family dwelling to living in a residential care facility with 24/7 nursing and other forms of care. Between the two extremes, there are numerous combinations of housing, medical and non-medical care. For example, there are many seniors living in their own homes or in apartments with some level of home care."
Within the two extremes of this housing continuum there are many new, exciting and unique options:
Becoming a landlord – This often requires some modification of the current home and a formal rental agreement.
Co-ownership – The homeowner sells half of their home to a housemate instead of renting or sharing it.
Task exchange homesharing – The homeowner shares their home and rent is subsidized when the person renting partly or completely performs tasks that the homeowner can no longer perform. In a task-exchange, the specifics of the arrangement are formally agreed upon in the home share agreement.
Supplemental income homesharing – The homeowner shares their home in exchange for supplemental income.
All of these housing options support aging in place by providing increased financial stability, help with the bills and companionship. At HomeShare Alliance we're working beyond traditional ways of thinking about senior living and offering services designed to connect homeowners with trustworthy and reliable housemates based on personality, lifestyle and much more. Reach out to the team at HomeShare Alliance to discuss your options for aging in place!