According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
In this guest blog the founders of Two Generations explain more about homesharing as an option for older people who don't need formal care, to remain in their own home with help and companionship.
“Mum really enjoys having her sharer in the house and has said what a charming and considerate person she is. I am delighted they are getting on so well”.
For many adult children in the UK, it’s a familiar feeling to be worrying about your parents as they age. This is particularly the case when they start to move into that interim stage, where they are no longer quite as independent as they once were, perhaps a little unsteady on their feet, or their memory is starting to show some decline: but they are not at the point where they need, or perhaps wish to look at care options – whether that’s residential or full time in-house care (which for most is prohibitively expensive).
For some, it’s just knowing that their parents are somewhat isolated, they may be single or widowed, they may just not have family as close as they would like, or with the time to visit or support as much as would be ideal.
Or some may just be quite fearful living on their own. They may have lost confidence – perhaps even more so during Covid lockdowns, and wish they had someone in the house overnight or to support them back into the community.
For all of the above, and many other scenarios, Sam Brandman and Natasha Langleben, set up Two Generations in 2018, a homesharing social enterprise.
What is homesharing?
A ‘Homeshare’ brings together two people, often from different generations. It helps the Householder (typically an older person or one living with a disability) to feel safe, gain companionship, and retain independence. It helps the Sharers (typically mature students or key workers) with an affordable housing option as this living arrangement is far below average private rent price. Legally, homesharing is covered under the UK Government’s Tenant Fees Act 2019.
The homesharer moves into the householder’s home after going through a bespoke vetting, selection and matching process all carried out by Two Generations.
This includes an application process, interviews, matching meetings, a trial period, references and a DBS process – all of which is very similar to a process one would go through to bring a carer into their home – or a nanny/au pair.
The sharers provide overnight companionship in addition to a set number of hours per week of household support including things like cooking, laundry, light cleaning, gardening.
In addition, Two Generations stay involved the whole way through with regular check-ins and support throughout the homeshare and if it ends, as circumstances change, they will support to find a new sharer.
The benefits of homesharing for older people
There are so many benefits for the householder – whether it be the companionship and support around the house, a contribution to utility bills, a chance to share experiences and wisdom and gain some fresh energy in the house or be helped to get back into the community.
The monthly charge is kept deliberately low, so it’s a very affordable option for those needing support at this lower end, or in combination with a carer.
Financial help from Two Generations
Two Generations are passionate about doing the right thing and giving back. A part of this is our reinvestment of revenue in a bursary scheme to help people with financial needs.
It is very important to us that money should not be a barrier to a homeshare. People are able to contact us to discuss further in confidence.
You can find out more on our website and read and watch many of our householders and sharers speaking in national media or through their written testimonials. One example: message From Family Member of Surrey Householder, “Mum really enjoys having her sharer in the house and has said to me what a charming and considerate person she is. I am delighted my mother and her sharer are getting along so well and wanted to thank you for introducing us to such a wonderful homesharer !”