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Golden Roommates

Why Older Women are Coupling Up with Their BFfs

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  • Although the friends worked with a lawyer and signed a Tenants in Common agreement (in the event that one of them moved out, or passed away), it was more of a formality. "In the end, I didn't think much about money," says Woltman. "I just followed my heart."

    The duplex was a fortuitous find for the women. Each has her own home, joined in the middle by a garage. Hoffman lives in the larger house in the front, because she prefers having a patio with a view of the street, while Woltman lives in the back, where she has a backyard and more privacy.

    "There's something about having your own space," says Woltman. "We will never walk into each other's houses without knocking. When I'm in my garden and I have my garden door closed, I know I have privacy."

    Although Hoffman and Woltman may not have a conventional living situation, they are on the cusp of what may become a housing revolution for female senior citizens, who not only live longer than men, but also greatly outnumber them. According to a 2006 Census Bureau, there are 7.4 million older women living alone in the United States, compared to only 2.7 million men. Increasingly, these women are opting for alternative housing solutions, including renting out rooms in their homes to help pay for mortgages, or forming co-housing communities, where residents have their own units located in complexes full of other senior citizens.

Golden Roommates
Why Older Women are Coupling Up with Their BFfs
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