PBS Newshour Explores Golden Girls-Style Senior Living

With a growing number of single boomers approaching retirement but lacking adequate resources, some are turning to communal living Golden Girls-style, says PBS in a recent Newshour segment

The April 16 segment spotlights three longtime friends in their 60s who have spent the past few years living together, part of an ongoing series called “Taking Care” that explores current issues related to long-term care.

“Before that, like a growing number of female baby boomers, all three were divorced, living alone and unsatisfied with the size of their savings accounts as they neared retirement,” says PBS. “Combining resources, they decided, they would make life cheaper, easier, and more fun.”

The arrangement is reminiscent of beloved ’80s sitcom “The Golden Girls,” which starred four women of a certain age who lived together.

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Across the United States, around 500,000 women aged 50 or older live with a non-romantic housemate, says PBS, and AARP analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data boils that down to about 130,000 “group homes.” 

 

The women interviewed in the segment have hired a contractor along with aging in place strategist Louis Tenenbaum, founder of the Aging in Place Institute, to renovate their home. Targeted projects range from widening hallways to selecting floor tiles with more grip to ward against slipping, along with installing “age-friendly” countertops and appliances, PBS reports.

“The whole setup that we have here is going to help me be independent for a long time,” says one of the friends. “And at the point at which I can no longer be independent, I will have additional resources for what I need.” 

There’s also Golden Girls Homes, Inc., a volunteer-based Minneapolis group that helps connect older single women who are interested in communal living. 

“I see both women with money and women with no money who need to do this and who can find a place here for that,” founder and president Connie Skillingstad told PBS. “And, for example, there are women who have no money, but they have a house. They have space and they can share it with somebody, and it will help them to survive.”

Access the segment, “Baby Boomers Take Cues from Golden Girls.” 

Written by Alyssa Gerace