Tuesday, September 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Seniors share homes for savings, companionship

Carolyn Allen, Marcia Rosenfeld

In this July 17, 2014 photo, Carolyn Allen, left, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes, is shown with roommate Marcia Rosenfeld, who owns the apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Allen lives. The two women are roommates thanks to a home-sharing program run by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, a nonprofit agency. Rosenfeld's two-bedroom apartment is too big for her, and even with a senior citizen's rent break it was too expensive, so she is happy to have Allen help share living expenses. The pair say the home-sharing program works well for them. Kathy Willens/AP photo

By
From page A9 | August 01, 2014 |

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s not exactly “The Golden Girls,” but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it’ll do.

Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship.

“It’s a wonderful arrangement,” said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she’s a senior citizen. “The way the rents are these days, I couldn’t stay here without it.”

She shares her two-bedroom, $1,000-a-month Brooklyn apartment with Carolyn Allen, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes and no longer wants to live alone.

Agencies that put such seniors together say the need appears to be growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep.

“Our seniors want to remain part of the community they were raised in, where they worked and went to church,” said Jackie Grossman, director of the home-sharing program at Open Communities in the Chicago suburbs. “They don’t want to be just with other seniors. Maybe they love their garden, their tool shed, and they would have to give that up if they move into senior housing.”

At the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, where applicants have tripled since 2008, the average boarder pays about $700 a month. The same average holds at the HIP Housing program in San Mateo, California, but it is about $500 at the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center in Baltimore.

Agencies handle the background checks and other screening and consider various lifestyle criteria — smoking, pets, disposable income — in making matches. When a match is made, the new roommates sign an agreement covering chores, overnight visitors, telephone use, etc.

Not all agencies limit applicants to seniors. In the New York program, only one of the two people has to be 60 or older.

The agencies’ services mean people who want a roommate don’t have to post notices in neighborhood weeklies or online and worry about who will respond.

“Craigslist can be very scary, especially for women,” said Connie Skillingstad, president of Golden Girl Homes Inc. in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, which refers women to housing resources including home-sharing. “They’d rather go through a respectable organization.”

In the past, program directors say, many of the people offering space were willing to take household help — grocery shopping, housecleaning, repair work — in lieu or some or all of the rent.

Recently, though, more people have insisted on dollars rather than services.

“In the last five years, we’ve really seen more people looking for financial aid rather than barter,” said Kirby Dunn, executive director of Homeshare Vermont in Burlington.

Companionship is an important side benefit.

“Independence is great but isolation as we age is a growing concern, so companionship can be almost life-altering,” Dunn said. “People are telling us they’re happier, sleeping better, eating better. … If I could sell you a drug that did that, you’d pay a lot of money.”

Grossman said many long-lasting friendships develop, “and for others there’s just mutual respect and that’s fine, too.”

Rosenfeld and Allen, who have been roommates for three years, both said they feel more like business associates than longtime friends like TV’s “Golden Girls,” but they gabbed like sisters and giggled about the apparent highlight of their time together: “the bathtub incident.”

Allen, who gets around with the help of a walker, had slipped in the bathtub and gotten stuck, with one leg wedged awkwardly behind her. She tried and tried but couldn’t get up.

“If I was living alone I might have been there for days,” she said. But Rosenfeld was home, and although she’s too petite to extract Allen from the tub, she was able to call 911 — and provide a towel for Allen to cover herself when rescuers arrived.

“Thank God Marcia was there,” Allen said.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Man on a mission: transform Davis

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Poppenga outlines ambitious agenda

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cool Davis Festival is très chill

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Sanity phase begins in Daniel Marsh trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

Council looks at granny-flat revision

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Standing In: Is the therapy for them, or me?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

California exhausts initial firefighting budget

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Brown allows new local development financing tools

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Find the perfect club or organization to join

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C2 | Gallery

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Forum examines Props. 1 and 2 on November ballot

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
DCC welcomes students with free lunch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Gibson House hosts plant sale and garden event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Assembly candidates will be at Woodland forum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

California approves landmark ‘yes means yes’ law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Try out basic yoga on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Number of wheels: How many bicycles do you have in your household?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C5 | Gallery

 
Emerson gives away old textbooks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Fraud Awareness Fair set Oct. 15 in West Sac

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UCD, University College Dublin will cooperate on food, health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Accessibility technology on exhibit at fair

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Covell Gardens breakfast benefits Komen Foundation

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Put your hoes down and celebrate the harvest

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Panelists discuss raising children with special needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
DCC hosts fair-trade gift sale on Oct. 11

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Woodland PD seeks volunteers for ViP program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

DMTC makes musical theater accessible to everyone

By Bev Sykes | From Page: C9 | Gallery

 
Snapshot: A night out with the neighbors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C10

Take home a wreath from Davis Flower Arrangers’ meeting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Davis school names reflect interesting history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: C12

Snapshot: Plenty of places to park it

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C14

 
Snapshot: Dive into Davis fun

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C15

Snapshot: Kick garbage to the curb

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C16

 
Snapshot: Sounds like a party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C17

.

Forum

He seems happy at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
It takes two to lambada

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Archer has the right stuff

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Get on your bikes to meet Davis’ greenhouse gas goals

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Marsh case shows need for ‘Maupin’s Law’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

The great bedtime conspiracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
They’re best-prepared to lead

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vibrant and hard-working

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Davis golfers get teaching moments in forfeit win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
‘Playoff game’ or missed chance? Either way the Aggies move on

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils move atop league standings with win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Only 15 months out of UCD, Runas off to LPGA Tour

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Two Junior Blue Devil squads emerge victorious

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
I-House film series continues with ‘Monsieur Lazhar’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

‘Art Farm’ exhibition will open in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Pleasant Valley Boys cool down Picnic in the Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino to play The Palms

By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Danelle Evelyn Watson

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Michael Allen Hanks Baxter

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7