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Why Age Alone? Get a Housemate! An Interview with Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest

Published on 07/23/2018

Tell us more about the mission of Silvernest and what need it is seeking to fulfill.
Silvernest is an online service that pairs boomers, retirees, empty nesters, and other aging adults with compatible housemates for long-term home sharing. Through these creative living situations, homeowners can earn extra income, remain in their homes longer, and keep isolation at bay.

Today, we’re facing unprecedented aging in the US, with 11,000 people a day turning 65, and a boomer population of 109 million that’s projected to reach 132 million by 2030. This population wants to age in place and most own their homes, yet they’re often faced with rising living costs on fixed budgets. Many are also underprepared financially for retirement, and with life expectancy at an all-time high, they’re facing even longer retirement period.

By leveraging what are often their biggest assets – their homes – they can generate extra income for mortgage payments, home upgrades, taxes, and other living costs.

That said, there are numerous benefits beyond the financial gain, such as companionship, connection, the ability to stay in the home, and maintaining a sense of community as the years go on. That sense of community is critical, as evidenced by the AARP statistic that states that social isolation has the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And the situation is compounded for women: Pew Research data shows that, of the 12 million U.S. aging adults who live alone, nearly 70% are women.

There’s also the safety and security that comes with cohabitating with someone else, and, if needed, homeowners can also choose to offer reduced rent in exchange for assistance around the house—and a good number of them elect this option.

We believe Silvernest is a solution that empowers individuals with choices and alternatives to senior living communities and assisted living homes.

 

How does Silvernest work?
Silvernest pairs homeowners with prospective housemates using a proprietary matching tool. Homeowners simply create a profile and listing with details about themselves, their home, and what they want in a housemate. Our roommate finder will introduce them to compatible potential matches in their area, and it all happens within the privacy of our site. Homeowners get unlimited matching until they find their happy new housemate.

It’s free to signup, create a profile, and browse potential housemates. Homeowners then pay a one-time match fee of $49.99 when they are ready to communicate with their matches, which gives them 60 days of unlimited communication, matching, and background screening. Housemates pay an application fee of $29.99 if a homeowner requests a background check. This one-time fee allows the housemate to share their background screen results with multiple homeowners for up to three months.

 

Can you share some success stories?
We have so many to choose from, but one great one that comes to mind involves a homeowner named John and his housemate Sally. John is an 85-year-old widower who has owned his Colorado home for more than 40 years. After his wife passed away and his kids left, he didn’t want to downsize and lose the home he loved. It was actually his daughter who helped him find Sally on Silvernest, and they get along exceedingly well. John’s daughter appreciates the safety aspects of him living with a housemate. A big benefit for Sally is that she gets to pay about a quarter of what she was paying in apartment rent.

 

What are your best tips for those of us considering becoming roommates?

  • Be picky. You want to share your space – as well as life experiences, friendship, and companionship – with your housemate, so it’s important to find someone who is compatible.
  • At the same time, keep an open mind about your housemate. Multi-generational living situations have been shown to be highly successful, for instance. Don’t write someone off just because they’re not what you had in mind at the start of your search.
  • Meet potential housemates in person. If you’re feeling good about them, set up a time to have coffee or go for a walk in a neutral place. Surprisingly, walking can stimulate a more spontaneous and intimate conversation than just sitting.
  • Be sure to vet your housemates prior to entering into a lease. Ask for references and check their social media pages for more insights. Always tell your friends and family your plans and ask for their help in assessing candidates.
  • Rather than entering into a one-year lease off the bat, consider starting with a three-month trial period to get to know your housemate and determine if you’re compatible.
  • Ask for a security deposit that’s equal to one month’s rent. This way, you’re covered if your housemate causes any damages to your property.

 

What books, blogs, organizations, videos, etc. could you recommend to support those considering cohabitating?
http://nationalsharedhousing.org
https://bloomerboomer.com/10-tips-find-perfect-housemate
https://www.seniorcare.com/about/carol-marak
http://www.elderindustry.com
http://www.lifeencore.com/about/sara-zeff-geber

 

Contact Wendi Burkhardt
Email: wendi@silvernest.com
Website: www.silvernest.com
Facebook Page
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube

As CEO of Silvernest, Wendi is responsible for driving the company’s overall direction and strategic growth, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. She boasts more than 25 years of technology experience working with venture startups, emerging technology companies, rapid-growth tech firms and Fortune 500 corporations. Her history also includes working with Home Instead, a $1 billion in-home, senior care corporation. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, as well as a mentor and coach to social ventures.

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE Courses, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.

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3 Comments

  1. Pat Hemphill

    Hi Silvermist…this sounds like an amazing initiative and a wonderful way to overcome loneliness in our older years.

    I do however have some questions that need answering.

    Because of financial restraints, I have been living with several different friends, in their homes, paying a small stipend to cover my costs. I have found it to be very difficult to ‘feel at home’ in another person’s home. I am always trying to be ‘easy’ to live with and feel squeezed and restricted in what I can use, cook, plant, or suggest…in case I upset or invade that person’s taste, ideas and living style.

    I feel claustrophobic and dream of having my own space again…to do exactly what I want to do…….but know that I will be very lonely and possibly depressed at living alone once again.

    I would really like to know how many people get to feel totally at ease and comfortable in someone else’s home, and never feel ‘in the way’ or cramping the other person’s living space. I think this would apply mostly to two women living together.

    Reply
  2. Maria. Griffin

    Please help me with any information about senior room sharing in homes in the state of Utah. Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • Helene Stelian

      You may want to contact Wendi directly at her email above. All the best, Helene

      Reply

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