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 either a like-minded peer or even a younger person who needs help with accommodation costs.
Homesharing could be an answer to elderly home care for some people. It 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 any elderely home care scheme and renting out rooms is not for everyone but for many it could be the 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.
Homesharing could be described as “lodging with safeguarding”. The homeshare company 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.
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.
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.
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 for elderly home care 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 https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/programmes/homeshare/
There are similar schemes in America which you can read about here http://www.elderthink.com/leaving-home/alternative-senior-lifestyles/home-sharing.php