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Marjorie P. Lee Senior Living Blog

Is a Roommate the Cure for Loneliness in Senior Living?

Jan 14, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Companionship can be the key to enjoying life after retirement.When you were still working you had a particular image of what life was going to be like after retirement—The Golden Girls had senior living right. You were going to move out of rainy, snowy Cincinnati and be one of those single, sassy seniors living it up in sunny Miami.

But things turned out differently than you expected.

Your own experiences after retirement have given you some new insight on the Golden Girls. You’ve realized that Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia had more in common than being hilarious—they were all lonely, too.

 

Life after retirement doesn’t have to mean living alone.

It can be particularly lonely for single seniors who find themselves at home alone after being surrounded by work friends all day, every day. And for those of you who have had a spouse pass on recently, are finding that living alone after so many years of having a companion is hard—even if your family takes the time to visit on occasion.

Finding your own group of Golden Girls could be the cure to loneliness and your first step to living well.

Joining a retirement community is the fastest and easiest way to find yourself in the midst of a sea of friends, but there are still ways to find companionship if you’ve chosen to go the aging-in-place route like so many other Americans.

1. Consider finding a roommate.

A good friend could be the companion you need to bring a little joy back into your life— to have someone to talk to and eat dinner with again or even just make you feel safer by not having an empty house.

But how do you go about finding a roommate if you don’t know where to start? In this day and age, there are many options.

  • Talk to family and friends. It may happen that someone you know has a senior in their life in the same position.
  • Ask around at senior activities and groups that you frequent. These are people you already associate with, so it’s a safe option to find a compatible roommate.
  • The web. The internet has groups that are set up in order to match up senior roommates. Make sure this is a reputable site and do not give any of your personal information. 

DO NOT

  • Leave an ad at local store with your information on it.
  • Place an ad on Craigslist, or a newspaper.
  • Place any of your personal information or indication that you may be living alone in a public space (newspaper, Facebook, online forum, etc.).

Maybe a human roommate is not your thing.

2. Look into adopting a pet

An animal companion can help you fight loneliness without having to sacrifice your own space.

If you’re looking for a pet that can help you feel safer in a house alone as well, you might want to consider getting a dog. But keep in mind the energy you have to give to an animal—like clean-up and daily walks.

A cat is a good companion if you’re looking for quiet affection.

There are many shelters in the Greater Cincinnati area that have a plethora of animals that need a good, loving home. A good place to start is to log on to www.petfinder.com. On this website you can take search animals by age, breed etc. You can also use the site to locate the closest shelter or rescue near you. Go take a visit and see who you fall in love with.

Whether it’s a human or animal, having a roommate may be the sure to loneliness. You never know you could luck out and meet some new best friends, just like in The Golden Girls!

 

Worried about a loved one?  Download our tipsheet to decide if it's time to talk about senior care.
Bryan Reynolds

Written by: Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

Topics: living well, coping, life after retirement

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