Boomers

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More Single Boomers Share Homes — and Health Support

By Julie Rovner, NPR

Lorene Solivan moved into the "Golden Girls" house in October after seeing an ad on Craigslist. An event manager at a food company, Solivan says she often cooks dinner for the group. (Maggie Starbard/NPR)

Lorene Solivan moved into the “Golden Girls” house in October after seeing an ad on Craigslist. An event manager at a food company, Solivan says she often cooks dinner for the group. (Maggie Starbard/NPR)

Today more than 1 in every 3 baby boomers — that huge glut of people born between 1948 and 1964 — is unmarried. And those unmarried boomers are disproportionately women. As this vast generation rushes into retirement, there’s a growing concern among experts on aging: Who will take care of all these people when they’re too old to care for themselves?

It’s a question many of the experts take personally. “That is what scares me,” says Sara Rix, who works for the AARP Public Policy Institute, studying the economic prospects of women in the workforce. “Because I am one of those people,” she says, “and I do think about it.”

“Oh, I’ve got wonderful nieces and nephews,” Rix says, noting that’s what a lot of her boomer peers claim, too. “Well, in fact, they’ve got their families. They’ve got their in-laws. They’ve got their parents. And I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect much out of them.”

Kathleen Kelly, who runs the Family Caregiver Alliance and the National Center on Caregiving in San Francisco, says she’s seeing the same sort of concern in her social circle. “I’m in my 50s, and my friends are all talking about, ‘Could we all move in together? Could we buy an apartment building and all live together?’ There are all sorts of permutations of this conversation,” Kelly says. “But it really is something that people are thinking about, particularly women.”

And, because boomers are boomers, some are doing more than just thinking about it. Already, there’s a small but apparently growing movement of boomer women forming group houses with their single peers. Continue reading