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Seniors and the Sharing Economy: how the Golden Girls got it right

Posted by CaraVita Staff on September 8 2016

You know, maybe the Golden Girls had it right all along; like pioneers for modern seniors and the sharing economy.

Having a roommate is par for the course growing up; most people can’t really afford to live alone yet, and they probably don’t want to move home to mom and dad’s either. Some roommates are good, others great, others maybe a little less so. But whatever! We were young and free, and willing to put up with just a little bit more. Having roommates as a senior? With exception to early 1990’s tv legend Blanche Devereaux and her pals from Golden Girls...it’s unheard of!

Until now. Enter seniors and the sharing economy

A rising number of folks in their very own golden years are turning to the digital age to make ends meet; seniors and the sharing economy working together towards independence. For roommates? Home sharing. Businesses like Roommates4Boomers (a roommate matching service for women over 50) have cropped up in recent years; connective services that help people find one another to share the cost of living independently with likeminded peers while reducing the isolation that can occur when older adults live alone.

roommates4boomers.com is a senior sharing economy service

The above business is just one part of a much larger trend: The Sharing Economy.

For millennials, the sharing economy already feels like normal life.

Why stay in a $200 hotel when someone’s empty apartment is just $50? That is AirBnB.

Why buy a car that sits idle 99 percent of the time? I could either use my spare time as a driver to get the most out of it, or simply rely on ride sharing apps to get around (and eliminate my vehicle expenses). This is why Uber (as driven by your neighbor) is replacing the taxi worldwide.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers notes that the sharing economy currently earns $15 billion a year. By 2025, PWC predicts this will grow to $330 billion.

Stop and think about that. 10 years, and an industry goes from 15 to 330. In billions. For today’s senior, or the adult child who watches over them, here is something to consider: all it takes to make more and save more? A shift in your (or their) consumption behavior. Seniors and the sharing economy, right?

There are efficiencies in sharing things: Saved money, saved time, expenses avoided (think oil changes). And, for those who seek to make extra money: share! Put your place on AirBnB. If you still have a valid license, get out and drive for Uber. When you aren’t using your things, others will pay you to let them use it. There are countless sharing economy apps and websites that make a lot of sense for seniors.

The process is almost always easy. Start by visiting the website of a sharing service you are interested in. Read around a little. It’s usually easy as 1-2-3.

Think of the sharing economy like the Golden Girls; a savvy silver quartet who were twenty odd years ahead of their time. The TV series revolved around four older single women who shared a house in Miami. Sure, Blanche owned the place, but Rose and Dorothy responded to her room for rent ad. They shared the house. Why would those three single ladies, still spry enough to retain their independence, need three houses? They wouldn’t. And in finding one another (on a grocery store bulletin board) they cut their life expenses by 66 percent. Make that a cool 75 percent reduction in life expense when Sophia showed up.

The sharing economy is the grocery store bulletin board.

Around the world, the sharing economy is big (and growing) business. $15 billion big. On it’s way to 2200 times that number over the next decade. Which is why we’re dedicating a new article each week to the subject. Because even if a Golden Girls roommate setup isn’t right for your mother (or for you), we think there are probably ways to save more, earn more and spend less by keeping yourself and the seniors in your life up to date on the rise of the Sharing Economy.

Next week, Part 2: The Five Sharing Economy Businesses Every Senior Should Consider. Just visit caravita.com/sharing each Monday for the latest posts from our series: Seniors in the Sharing Economy. In the meantime, just remember one thing:

Topics: Home Care Resources, Technology, Caregiver & Caregiving Resources, Featured, Senior Care, Guest Blogger