More and more older people are choosing to live with roommates

LITTLETON, Colo.  --  As home prices continue to go up in Colorado and new construction continues to lag behind growth, more and more people are choosing to shack up with roommates. And it’s not just people in their 20s.

For some people, life is better spent shared.

That’s the mindset for Joanne Wilson and Kathy Horsfall, both over 50, single, and with adult kids out of the house.

"This is the main living area for me, and Kathy and I share the kitchen," Wilson said.

For them choosing to house share was a no-brainer.

“As we get older, it really helps to have someone to talk to,” said Wilson.

But finding a roommate over 50 isn’t always easy.

So both women turned to a new Boulder-based startup called Silvernest, a roommate matching service for boomers and empty nesters.

“In Denver in particular, it is a housing crisis.  There are so many folks who are struggling to continue to stay in their home financially and so many folks who cannot afford to find a place to live,” said Kari Henley, Silvernest’s Director of Community Relations.

Wilson owns a three bedroom home in Littleton, but spends most of her time on the road.

“I’m gone 180 days a year so it’s nice to have somebody in the house in case something happens,” Wilson said. She said she appreciates having someone to watch over the home and having someone to come home to.

Horsfall recently moving back from out of state and needed a place to rent.

“Being a single person and limited income and all that, it was a tough, tough deal trying to find a place… Everything’s so expensive.  It’s just sky high,” she said.

Silvernest has already connected thousands of people looking to share a home.

“There’s really a tremendous need for bringing people back together… We now have more than 5,000 participants in all 50 states,” Henley said of the website startup that’s been in business less than one year.

Wilson and Horsfall quickly matched on the site in August.  For them, it works both financially and fits the lifestyle they want to lead.

“It just keeps you more alive I think,” Wilson said.

“Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I think it’s just worked,” Wilson and Horsfall said to each other.

Four million woman age 50+ live in U.S. households with a roommate, and that number doesn’t include the number of men and women choosing to lease out a room in their home.

It’s a static that continues to rise.

Henley said she's  happy  to help give older people options to stay in a community in which they’ve long lived.

“There is no way you can build your way out of the housing crisis in Colorado so alternative solutions to helping older adults age in place are vital and we are really proud to be part of that solution,” said Henley.