Today on the BBC programme “Right on the Money” there was a lovely piece about Doreen and Anouck who are Homesharing together. The Homeshare concept is for, two people who would not normally meet each other are helped to get to know each other and become housemates. Usually an older person who has a spare room and who wants a little help around the house or some companionship is matched with a younger person who is looking for somewhere affordable to live. When a good match is found, the younger person moves in and contributes to the bills but instead of paying rent, agrees to provide a little help with, for instance, household tasks which the older person is starting to find difficult.
Homeshare does not attempt to provide personal care to its older participants, but care packages can be sought alongside having a Homesharer. “Homeshare is often thought of as a way for a ‘vulnerable’ older person to get support and as a way to tackle loneliness in later life. Just as we can all experience loneliness at different times in our lives, we can all become ‘vulnerable’. The careful selection and safeguarding procedures of Homeshare organisations have been developed in recognition of the particular concerns many older people may have about house-sharing, but the model avoids applying a blanket ‘vulnerable’ label to everyone over 65, or assuming that no younger person ever feels vulnerable. This puts Homeshare organisations in an unusual place (but a very normal one for, say, a dating service or a commercial home-sharing service such as AirBnB), which is recognising that there can be risks in sharing a home, and enabling two people (and often, their families) to understand them and manage them, but not trying to take over: the participants ultimately decide whether to take part and with whom, and they develop their own version of the standard Homeshare agreement, and taking responsibility for it, with the local Homeshare organisation on hand if they run into difficulty. This approach has a strong safety track record but also creates space for the only real cure for loneliness, which isn’t in the end a volunteer or even a befriending project (useful as those approaches can be): it’s a friend”says Alex Fox CEO of Shared Lives Plus and Homeshare UK
“I love that I am helping my householder and knowing that I am having a positive impact on her happiness. I love the stories that she shares with me of her life and experiences.”. Homesharer. Shared Lives Plus Householder and Homesharer Survey 2017