Why Older Women are Coupling Up with Their BFfs
"About seven decades ago, it was just assumed that if you became a widow or were divorced, you'd go live with someone else," says Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist and author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. "Now, older women don't want to give up their independence." Rather than getting remarried or going to live with their children or at a nursing home, women are choosing to stay in their own homes, and they increasingly turn to each other for support, comfort and safety as they age.
Maddy Dychtwald, co-founder of Age Wave and author of Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better, says that she's noticed a trend of older women increasingly choosing to live together through her work. "I think you're going to see this speed up as the baby boom generation gets older," says Mychtwald. Boomers tend to like the idea of communal living better than their parents' generation, she says, and that's a good thing, given that many of them may reach retirement without the means to live on their own.
Especially in our current economy, there's been an increase in shared housing, according to Ryan Cowmeadow, LMSW, HomeShare program coordinator at University of Michigan Health System's Housing Bureau for Seniors. "It is an old idea that just makes sense. I believe people are now seeing the benefits of shared housing and how it could work for them," he says. "The majority of my clientele are females however many males are sharing homes as well."
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