Seniors Embrace Sharing Economy to Age at Home

Seniors, like their younger, urban counterparts, are participating in the on-demand and sharing economy as both users and providers, The Washington Post reported. The trend could mean seniors living at home longer.

Companies such as Uber, Instacart and TaskRabbit now offer alternatives to past ways of offering senior-oriented services—potentially transforming how the older demographic accomplishes everyday tasks.

“I’m all for all these newfangled things that make life easier,” 88-year-old Sally Lindover told the Post. Lindover uses Instacart, which grocery shops for its users, and rents out her apartment’s second bedroom using Airbnb.

“I like to be here when people come in,” Lindover said. “I like to see them, and they see me, and I can give them some information about the neighborhood.”

Over 50% of Airbnb’s hosts are older than 40, and 10% of them are older than 60, the Post reported. Empty-nesters often have a surplus of rooms to rent, as well as “the life experience to know what it means to welcome someone into your home,” according to Anita Roth, Airbnb’s head of policy research.

Meanwhile, 25% of the drivers at Uber, which recently announced a partnership with AARP, are 50 years old or older.

According to the Post, traditional senior-oriented services are considering the possibility that similar tech companies may steal away their future customers.

“I do view it as both a threat and an opportunity,” said Tom Grape, CEO of Benchmark Senior Living. He added that decision not to move to senior living “is already our biggest competitor, and of course we fully expect that technology will allow people to stay at home longer in the future.”

Written by Mary Kate Nelson