Fred Natkevi has written an eloquent and heartfelt piece, “A senior’s dilemma,” in the Aug. 30 Viewpoints section of Wednesday Journal. Unfortunately, his dilemma is not unusual for aging homeowners in Oak Park and River Forest. 

A resident in his current home since 1964, Fred finds himself a widower in his mid-80s with “waning … physical capacities.” Wrestling with the likely prospect of relocating, he longs to spend his remaining days in his current home, “an 80-year-old tree that cannot be transplanted.” 

But Fred might not need to uproot if he had housemates filling one or more of his empty bedrooms. Such formal home-sharing differs from renting rooms through Airbnb. The persons using the house share “living together,” engaging in household give-and-take. He would sacrifice some privacy in return for companionship carefully matched to fit his wishes.

Arbor West Neighbors explores creative community home-sharing options among others at our Housing Forum on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library. One goal of Arbor West Neighbors, a grassroots community association for Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, and Austin, is to advocate for age-integrated housing options that recognize the voices, power, and needs of older adults.

Susan Stall

Arbor West Neighbors board member

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