Assisted Living

8/2/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

It’s not surprising that a private room in an assisted living facility is more expensive than living with a roommate. And with so many seniors living on fixed Social Security and personal retirement benefits, it’s equally unsurprising that many are opting for assisted living roommates, someone to live with as a way of staying within their limited budgets.

Moving into assisted living can be a challenging adjustment for seniors, and a private room can leave them with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Because of this, some look for a roommate in their new surroundings, hoping to stave off those feelings.

However, while financial concerns and companionship are excellent reasons to share living space, there are other considerations in shared housing for seniors. Here are a few things to think about to ensure that you live your retirement years in harmony with assisted living roommates.

What level of privacy will you have?

You and your potential roommate should agree on the amount of privacy comfortable for each of you. Depending on the assisted living facility’s layout, you might only share a living room. In others, you could be sharing a bedroom.

The first order of business would be to discuss and agree on privacy guidelines and set up a structure to adjust in the future. Potential assisted living roommates should also agree on the habits that will support these guidelines.

Compatibility is the essential ingredient when sharing space

Many older adults have become set in their ways. They have routines that revolve around eating, sleeping, bathing, and socializing. These habits (sleep, in particular) could be essential to their health and happiness. Minor variations in the roommates’ schedules should not be a problem, but a noisy night owl living with an “early to bed, early to rise” roommate could cause serious compatibility issues.

In addition to differences in schedules, other incompatibility concerns could include one roommate who likes to talk paired with someone who prefers quiet. A hard-of-hearing senior who blares the TV volume while living with one who enjoys a good book would likely not lead to a long and happy relationship. And a neat freak stuck with a messy companion – remember the Odd Couple – could be a disaster.

Are assisted living roommates worth the cost savings?

A roommate whose habits and personality differ significantly from yours can make the living situation intolerable. While some adults can easily adjust their habits to complement another person when sharing space, others have difficulty adapting.

For instance, you might be able to reason with a roommate who monopolizes the bathroom by taking long baths. Or you could ask them to remove their shoes if they are tracking in dirt after working outdoors. But other issues may not be so easy to resolve.

The example of the roommate who constantly watches television at high volume, while the other prefers to read in silence, could cause conflict that isn’t quickly resolved. Even if both roommates agree to watch TV, choosing a program the suits both their tastes could cause irreparable strife.

These scenarios could cause a senior to regret agreeing to a roommate, and in many cases, they immediately request a new one or, if they can afford it, ask to be moved to a private room.

Can conflict between roommates be settled amicably?

Possibly. But conflict resolution requires compromise. For instance, creating a schedule that allows each roommate to see their favorite TV shows – learning to use a DVR, if necessary – is one example. Keeping the TV’s volume down while using closed captioning or headphones is yet another.

If both are willing to make an effort to resolve their disagreements, they can get past them and enjoy their time together. The money savings and companionship of assisted living roommates are worth giving it a try!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff