Christine, 28, has been homesharing with Margaret, 83, in a lovely residential area in
South East London for more than 12 months. Joining the world of homeshare has meant that Christine is able to live close to her family and network of friends, who have also become part of the homesharing experience. Homeshare has afforded Christine a better quality of life as she’s been able to use the money saved on renting to travel and invest in her own wellbeing.
“I had just left a job and was dipping into my savings. I didn’t want to move back into the
family home and instead needed an affordable place to live. I noticed the homeshare
opportunity on SpareRoom and it caught my eye. It was super-cheap, and the picture of the
room was very nice; it had a blue accent wall and a piece of Matisse artwork. I read a little
more and discovered that the woman who was looking for a sharer used to work as a
psychologist in the prison service, and with my own interest in psychology, I thought this
person sounds interesting! The advert also stated that she spoke fluent French, and as I
come from a French speaking background, I was excited at the idea of being able to practice
my language skills – I thought it was an opportunity designed for me – I was sold!
A new adventure!
I was also at a stage where I wanted a new adventure! Share and Care Homeshare
organised for me to meet with Margaret and visit her home – it had so many books! My
first impressions were that she was very articulate and very friendly. I also met her
daughter, and really liked her too – she reminded me of my Mum.
The homeshare is located in a well-connected area in South East London, close to my family
home and my network of friends, and as I am very close with my siblings this is great.
I have found it very easy to slot into homeshare life, the dynamics are great. Margaret’s
daughter is very involved and so are her other children which has made me feel part of the
extended family. Margaret and her family have superseded my expectations of this
Margaret has met my family too, and she loves my Mum! She has invited my Mum over for
dinner and we organise a ‘French evening’ where we only speak French! My little sister can
visit me as often as she wants. Margaret’s daughter even had a spare ticket for the theatre
once and took my sister!
I also love to cook and therefore Margaret and I bond over food! I have introduced her to
different types of food that she hadn’t tried before such as roasted butter nut squash, oxtail,
Neither of us are big TV fans but occasionally we watch a quiz show together or a French TV
show, and even the occasional movie – we once watched The Color Purple.
Improves quality of life
My friends think it’s pretty cool that I homeshare and are envious as it’s an amazing way to
save money, yet some have said that they wouldn’t be able to homeshare because they are
worried about the time commitment. My advice is that you must be organised, which I am!
For instance, if I plan to go out, I will meal prep so that there is a dinner waiting for
Margaret whenever she is ready to eat. It’s important to be mindful – you can’t join this
process and not do what you have committed to.
Margaret lives with Parkinson’s and is also registered blind. She therefore has a number of
carers come in to support her. There are always different visitors around so it’s also a case
of managing different personalities and understanding their roles.
Homeshare is a really great opportunity for people to trust you. I make time for Margaret
and really enjoy the experience. My parents moved to the UK in the 1990s from overseas,
so I didn’t grow up with grandparents around me. It’s so nice to step into this world and
have a different perspective – to get an insight into Margaret’s life and experiences.
Reduces cost of living anxiety
My quality of life has improved since homesharing. I’ve been able to save money which has
taken away the anxiety around the cost of living. The cost of homesharing is so much lower
than renting which takes a big pressure off. At some point, I may even be able to buy a
property. Now the savings are enabling me to travel and even improve my self-care and
wellbeing by having the money for exercise classes for example.
I have greater responsibility with homesharing but it’s brought out the organisational skill
set in me, and I am all the better for it! I feel so lucky. Margaret is lovely and she is so good
to my family. We share similar interests. I have a lovely bedroom and a room to work in
which is very beneficial as I work from home.
I’ve developed a strong bond with Margaret as we’ve been able to speak to each other and
encourage each other. We come from vastly different backgrounds but there are many
things that we relate, deep conversations, and lovely food being just a few of them. It’s
hard to imagine what life would have been like if we hadn’t crossed paths.”