Elderly Home Care Costs - Could Homesharing be a Solution?

Elderly home care costs are a constant worry for babyboomers either for their aging parents or even themselves at some time in the future.  Could home sharing be a solution?

The cost of care is soaring and the quality of the delivery of care is also a worry so I was particularly interested in a new initiative that has been introduced in the UK called "Homesharing".

There has been house sharing schemes before but this one is particularly aimed at those in later life. 

The focus is on those who are seeking a lodger either to supplement their income by renting out a room or simply wanting some company and those seeking to find a cheaper way of living.

There are not many of us who relish the idea of living alone, particularly as we get older. I saw first hand how it affected my mother after my father died.  Even though I visited her most days there was still the loneliness after I'd gone.

Unfortunately she wasn't able to come and live with me.  I didn't have a spare room downstairs with a bathroom and she couldn't manage the stairs without great difficulty.  It just wasn't an option.

Mum was in a retirement apartment complex so she wasn't completely on her own and had help at hand if she needed it but there are many elderly people living in what was once their family home not wishing to give up their home but constantly worrying  about the financial pressures and of course the loneliness issues of living alone.

Elerly home care is always an emotive topic.  Nearly everyone I know in my age group say the one thing that they dread the most about growing old  is the thought that they will either have to  go into a residential home or be reliant on carers coming in.

Some people saw  retirement apartments as an option to stave off the costs of elderly home care for a while longer combating loneliness and the expense of running a big house.  However in latter years they seem to have lost their popularity because of the constant rise in service charges and management issues that residents have no control over. 

So how much better to stay in your own home and share it with a like-minded peer.

A Company called  www.uniitee.com  have come up with a new initiative that could be a unique solution to the elderly home care problem.

Homesharing is very simply renting out a spare room in your home to another person on a basis of sharing the home, sharing the household responsibilities and sharing the enjoyment of a house which has a homely feel and a greater sense of security.

Of course there are always risks with renting out rooms and it's not for everyone but for many it could be answer to easing the financial burden of running a house that is too big for them and solve the issue of loneliness and social inclusion that affects many of the elderly today.

Uniitee's programme of Homesharing could be described as “lodging with safeguarding”.  They match home owners with home seekers and have safeguards in place to ensure as far as possible that both parties are protected from undue risk.

The Benefits of Home Sharing

  • Companionship -  in having someone in the house for company, to share meals with and general interaction
  • Mutual support - in having someone in the house with both looking out for each other particularly in the case of falls and illness.
  • Security - in having another person in the house
  • Financial assistance - for the homeowner who gains a nominal rent that can alleviate stress and
  • For the homesharer - Financial gain from a reduction on their outgoings through not supporting their own home.

For both there is a general increase in quality of life.  People eat better when cooking for two (buying for 2 is not twice the cost of buying for one). 

Fuel poverty can be reduced from increased cash flow in the house.  Confidence grows when not isolated and people will tend to go out more.

It certainly seems a win-win solution for all parties.

How it Works

The Homesharing company  vet all applicants and all programmes are further safeguarded through regular homeshare coordinator visits and access to a 24/7 helpline to alert any concerns or fears. 

They also have regular monitoring of the programme when the participants can talk honestly and freely about how the programme is going and adjustments can be made easily to maintain the highest level of quality living.  Homesharers decide what chores and responsibilities each will have.

Bob Williams set up Uniitee when he experienced first- hand the issues of elderly home care following the death of a parent.

There is much evidence that those who have plenty of social interaction and a good support network will be more likely to live a longer healthier, happier and more active life than those that are alone and isolated.

Obviously the ideal set up for a home share would be with a friend that you've known for years but this isn't always an option.

Another idea which is becoming popular is living with the family where two or three generations  share the same home but with their own space.  Again this is a solution to staving off the dreaded elderly home care costs  but is not always an option for all.

If you're interested in finding out more about homesharing schemes in the UK click here to go to www.uniitee.com or go to  Bob's blog. at http://uniitee.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/so-this-is-homesharing/

There are similar schemes in America which you can read about here http://www.elderthink.com/leaving-home/alternative-senior-lifestyles/home-sharing.php

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