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BLOGS

April 2024

MAKING PROGRESS WITH HOME SHARING

by Deborah Knox

Co-founder & Board Member

Spring is in the air and that means a new round of rent increases are likely. Are you one of those still waiting for the housing crisis to get better, or not even sure what that would look like? If you have attended just one of our bi-monthly Public Gatherings presented by Tucson Home Sharing, you would know about the many benefits of home sharing and, perhaps, be ready to take advantage of it. The “do-it-yourself” (DIY) process we offer is comprehensive because we want you to feel comfortable making such a big move, but I know THS has the right tools that will help you get over the “heebie-jeebies.”

At a recent walk through my favorite restaurant with a gift shop in front, I was delighted to see a copy of a book with the Golden Girls splashed across the front! Yes, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia. You won’t believe the title: Quit Being an Idiot: Life Lessons from the Golden Girls by Robb Pearlman #1 New York Times Bestselling author. The fact that it took a guy to write this up pains me, but nonetheless the wisdom of the girls is here on every page.

It’s all about communication. Communication is everything when it comes to home sharing. You’ll need to get to know your own preferences when it comes to sharing a home with another, whether you are a provider or a seeker. That’s what our survey and workshop tools are designed to do, and that is to give you some real specific information and questions you can use to measure a potential homemate’s likelihood of being a good fit. You’ll need good communication skills to express your preferences and ask others about theirs when it comes to the simplest of things that can make or break a relationship, such as too much noise, an unkempt kitchen, or, would you believe(!) banana peels in the bedroom trash! And if things don’t go exactly as expected — and sometimes they don’t, you can have a “difficult conversation” with someone that can make a difference in your life and living situation.

 

And what if ... WHAT IF ... the person you select has lied all along? Will you kick them out or try to have a conversation with them? I know that’s pretty extreme but people often do express their worst fears in our Public Gatherings. So don’t think you are alone. We also recommend both background and reference checks, the latter in many cases being the deal breaker.

And finally, what will it take for you to seriously address your secret longing for a safe,

compatible home sharing situation with another person who cares whether you come home at night. Might this be preparation for “aging in place?”Please consider joining us in multiple Public Gatherings, first Thursday on Zoom and third Thursday live, to learn more about home sharing. You will meet other people interested in home sharing and learn from their questions and concerns. And then attend our two workshops and

ask for help with creating your postings and beginning the interview process.

One final note…., tell your friends to ‘Quit being an Idiot’ and check out ‘Life Lessons from the Golden Girls’.

See you at our next meeting, I hope. And bring a buddy — they’ll help you ask the right

questions.

 

February 2024

What the Big Newspapers Have to Say About Home Sharing

by Deb Knox

Co-founder of Tucson Home Sharing.  

 

“With the Boomers aging, you see higher and higher numbers in shared housing,” said Rodney Harrell, Vice President of Family, Home and Community at AARP, in a Washington Post article, pointing out that Boomers are more open than previous generations to trying alternative solutions to the traditional aging trajectory.

 

Tucson Home Sharing, Inc., was founded in 2019 to encourage the concept and best practices of home sharing as an option for affordable housing, while also addressing the need for companionship. 

 

And yet, it is a younger generation - 40’s - 60’s  - who seem to be willing to take a not-so-new approach to decent affordable housing.  Their rents have increased up to 35% in some cases.  Getting on the Wait List for Section 8 housing assistance also affects elders who might really need it more now.  They may or may not have had roommates in the past.  Many have terrible stories to tell.  But as one woman said “ The ease of the “later-in-life roommate-as-friend” experience surprised her positively. “I mean, I’m one of those people who has spent a good time of my life in therapy, mostly complaining about people I knew.

 

At our bi-monthly Public Gatherings we have attendees via zoom or in person, who learn how to find and keep a good housemate.  We host small groups of home providers and home seekers and there is a rich exchange of information. The founders/facilitators deliver a total of 6 hours of in-depth training for participants to conduct a self-assessment and values clarification process to most accurately communicate wishes, wants and needs. There’s a whole lot more assistance and support that THS offers to increase your confidence in finding and keeping a good housemate.  

 

According to a 2021 AARP survey, seventy percent of adults over age fifty reported being open to sharing their home with a family member who was not a spouse, while fifty one percent said they would be willing to share with a friend and six percent would share a home with a stranger. Of those who reported they would not share their home at all, twenty three percent said they would change their mind if they needed extra income.”

 

 

To attend a Public Gathering and learn more, please go to our website tucsonhomesharing.org and register on the Events page.  Hope to see you there.  

October 2023

COULD THIS HAPPEN TO YOU?  

By Deb Knox

Co-founder of Tucson Home Sharing

“(The) number of unhoused people 65 and older could triple by 2030,” according to Jeff Olivet, executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, and for many, “it is first time homelessness.”

 

I find this quote to be utterly devastating and I realize my initial interest in home sharing was actually to prevent this dreaded occurrence.  Read on to learn more.  There are numerous factors that contribute to the increasing numbers, such as

 

  • an expanding aging population

  • challenges re-entering the workplace

  • the high cost of living and

  • increased housing costs with reduced affordable housing stock in different areas of the country 

 

It seems highly unlikely this could ever happen, but that is a frequent statement from those who have entered this precarious state of existence. Home sharing as a housing option offers affordability while also addressing the issue of loneliness, often experienced as a problem related to aging, which was certainly highlighted during the pandemic.

 

Home sharing allows two or more adults to share housing for their mutual benefit. A person offers a private bedroom and shared common area in exchange for financial assistance, help around the house or a combination of the two. Every home sharing arrangement is unique. 

 

“Fifty is the new 75” according to Margot Kushel, M.D. who is director of UCSF’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative.  “When it comes to people without a permanent place to reside.” …  “Homelessness pummels the body, …whether unhoused people bed down in an abandoned building or on a park bench or under a tent, they tend to be exposed to the elements, eat poorly, sleep fitfully, skip medications and shun doctors and dentists. Moreover, their circumstances trigger anxiety and depression, leading some to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.” 

 

So, “What’s the big difference between 50 and 75?”  According to the above information, aging seems to accelerate symptoms of poor health at a time when elders should be taking extra good care of themselves.  Planning for the future - in terms of housing accommodations, as well as completing healthcare directives—can create a safety net and a sense of security that provides better assurance that you will not be one of those unhoused persons in the future. Home providers can benefit as much as home seekers, when it comes to meeting escalating costs and the need for an extra pair of hands around the house.  Single men and women often referred to as “elder orphans” can begin to anticipate a future free of homelessness and more importantly, a future with the benefits of a supportive homemate.  

 

Tucson Home Sharing has an educational program and resources to help you find and keep a successful homesharing relationship going. Join us at one of our Public Gatherings to learn more.  To register, go to tucsonhomesharing@gmail.com and check out our website for more information and success stories.  

CONSIDERING HOME SHARING?

STAGES of TRANSITION  

By Deb Knox

Co-founder of Tucson Home Sharing

  Blog: Part 1

 

Change in general can be overwhelming, but when you are considering how, where, when and with whom to live, know that you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed.  Most older adults prefer to age in place. For home providers, home sharing can be a reliable resource for companionship and help with chores and/or additional income.  For home seekers, there is an opportunity to share a space with another by providing service or cash as two can live more economically and sustainably than one. 

 

But like all life changes, it isn’t so easy, is it?  I like thinking of change in terms of stages, as it takes some of the angst out of having to do it all at once.  

 

The stages are as follows: 

1. Anticipation  

2. Preparation  

3. Decision-making 

4. Arriving/Settling In

5. Dealing with Differences 

6. Ending the relationship

 

Anticipation

 

Anticipating a home sharing experience is full of excitement, fear and wondering “Is it right for me? Is it right with this particular person I’m considering? Or maybe I just remain alone until …  Until what?  You fall and can’t get out of bed, or … ?”

 

Finally the pros for sharing a home with another person outweigh the cons and you are ready to take the next logical step to find out more.  According to Tucson Home Sharing, there are some essential steps to take to ensure a compatible relationship.

 

 

Preparation

 

To start the process, attend an informational Public Gathering by Zoom or a Live session presented twice a month by Tucson Home Sharing, and complete the Home Sharing Self-Assessment Questionnaire provided.  Next, the most important activity is to write down the results of that Assessment about what you have to offer to a home sharer. (e.g., a clean room with private bath, and sufficient personal and/or storage space). The home seeker needs to be clear on what she brings to the table too, such as a willingness to garden or help with kitchen chores or shopping as an exchange in service or cash. Home sharing is about meeting mutual needs as well as being clear on what you can’t live with or without.  (Must Haves and Can’t Live Withs).

 

Other steps in preparation include writing up your offering and posting it for others to see. This is the time to notify your family, friends and others in your network about plans and how they can help you get the word out.  

Be prepared to overcome any objections and help them realize this is the choice you are making now at this stage of your life. Then, be bold and take the leap!

 

 

Decision-Making

 

This is when the going can get rough, or you might just be lucky enough to meet someone the first 15 minutes after you post your ad, and suddenly, several weeks later, you are all moved in. The Self Assessment survey provides you with tools and information to thoughtfully interview any prospective home-mate with the desire of finding a “good fit.” Only you and the other person will know what that is, and how exciting, empowering and scary that can be!

 

Conducting your interviews and recording your responses (legibly in writing or in your soul) will help you to process and refine your criteria and your search.  Posting ads in places where like-minded people are found helps expand the search beyond immediate friends. You’ll want to conduct several interviews before actually meeting in person, and later visiting the home and meeting face-to-face.  

 

To be continued next month, the following 3 stages: Arriving/settling In, Dealing with Differences, Ending the Relationship

CONSIDERING HOME SHARING?

STAGES of TRANSITION

 

By Deb Knox

Co-founder of Tucson Home Sharing

Blog: Part 2

 

Arriving/Settling In

When the furniture arrives you first set up your private space. Previous conversations have assured you there is a place for your furniture in the common space. Home providers need to accommodate the arrival and make sure the home sharer feels welcome. Home seekers frequently bring with them objects, including pots and pans, and chairs and lamps that need

a new space for sharing. Is there enough room on the fridge for those favorite magnets?

The entire process of moving in is essential to really getting to know one another’s likes and dislikes and to have conversations that communicate each other’s values. Some familiar with the process suggest a two-week trial period. Since home sharers are building a foundation for the future, be sure to listen carefully and be as clear as possible in your responses.

Settling In

How will you manage your first meal? Who cooks, who shops, cleans, etc.  Hopefully you have already had this conversation; now, you put it to the test. If early decisions aren’t working, change them.

 

Dealing with Differences

Dealing with differences becomes easier the longer you live with another.  Good communication skills (especially listening) and anticipating the others wants and needs, can become almost routine as you share your life, time and space together (if that is what you want!) Remember, all home sharing relationships are unique!  An example is when I moved in with Sharon, I brought with me a handmade coffee table that I really loved. Sharon already had a coffee table and so the question: which one would be a part of our home together? The choice of whose coffee table would adorn the living room was made by Sharon, my wise home provider, who noted “If I win this game, I can end up in an assisted living facility with my coffee table

wedged in with all my other furniture.”

 

Ending the Arrangement

Sooner or later one of you will probably have a health-related issue or change in family relationships, that can change the dynamics of how you live together. Or maybe another family member moves in as a last resort and won’t be moving out. How will you handle that ending? Knowing in advance (and recording it as part of your original Household Agreement) can help you keep your eyes open for other options while enjoying all the benefits of sharing a home and your life with another person.

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MAKING THE MOST OF AGING

 

By Deb Knox

Co-founder of Tucson Home Sharing

Blog: Part 3

According to AARP’s most recent polls, most older adults have a strong preference to age in place in their own homes and communities. Have you ever considered sharing your home? What would be your main reason for thinking about sharing your home with a compatible person and why even consider it? 

 

There are several good reasons, but here’s my take… once you get clear on this motivator, the whole process (and it is a process) gets a lot easier.  Those of us who believe in and follow the wisdom of visualization know it’s never too late to experience more joy, peace and gratitude.  After all, aren’t those some of the life experiences we longed for that brought us to this point in life?

 

After a few years of exploring the art of home sharing, I’ve come to realize there are four basic reasons to experience it. Knowing which of these reasons is your key motivator is the first step in moving ahead on this journey, though the others will still provide their own rewards.

 

Financial Savings - What will you do with the extra money you save? Some like to travel, others may feel more financial security and be able to give to children or friends.  What you charge, and whether it is an exchange of service or fees is your decision to make. Tucson Home Sharing (THS) can help you get a handle on this. 

 

Safety - If not now, at some time you may need a little personal help or assistance with chores around the house.  The worst case scenario is picturing yourself lying alone on the floor for one, two or even three days.  If you don’t have your end of life planning documents in place, be sure to put your decision about where and how you want to live into the mix, creating more safety for yourself by aging in the right place at home.  

 

Companionship - How’s your social network?  Maybe a few friends have died, or moved away, and your children are not nearby, even if they are in the same town.  What would you like companionship for? Consider having breakfast with your home sharer and talking about your day or planning an activity together later in the week. Perhaps sharing one meal a week sounds like fun while still keeping your privacy when you want or need it most.

 

Adventure - It is never too late to make a big change for great rewards, personally, interpersonally, spiritually, etc.  Sharing your home with another can truly be an adventure, meeting their friends, finding what you like to do together, being more comfortable taking day trips and eating foods you’ve never eaten before.

 

Tucson Home Sharing Inc. has been in existence since 2019 promoting the benefits of home sharing and guiding people toward creating and sustaining long-term home sharing relationships.  If you’d like to learn more, please consider attending one of our FREE Zoom or LIVE Public Gatherings from 1-2 PM on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month (except August). Email tucsonhomesharing@gmail.com to request an invitation.  Learning more about your likes, dislikes, preferences and priorities for home sharing will continue after the meeting when you complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire about what’s most important to you in a home sharing relationship. We invite you to let us help you take the next steps in the process. 

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