As the population of older adults grows, the need for elder-friendly housing and communities that encourage self-reliance and support independence becomes increasingly important. ~ Vital Aging Network
Housing is an important issue for older adults who may be facing financial and health challenges. Creative housing ideas such as home sharing programs are being developed as a way to support aging in place.
The Golden Circle home sharing program in Alberta matches college students with older adults. The program offers the older adults increased security and reduced isolation while the students receive affordable housing. In exchange for low affordable housing the students are expected to assist with 4-10 hours of household chores and errands.
North American agencies such as the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens offer Home Sharing Programs that link older adult ‘hosts’ age 60+, that have extra bedrooms in their homes, who are looking to share expenses, chores or companionship and with ‘guests’. The program is free and professional social workers “thoroughly screen and check the references of all host and guest applicants”. Once a match is made the participants sign an agreement.
The non-profit organization Golden Girl Homes in Minnesota offers shared housing opportunities specifically for older women. For $25 a year individuals who wish to share their homes can join the aptly named Blanche Devereaux Society that allows members to ‘advertise’ their space and join in on group activities.
The United Kingdom based Homeshare International Network encourages “a society in which fewer people live lonely and isolated lives, and where intergenerational solidarity is promoted”. Individuals can check the ‘Programmes Worldwide’ section of their website to find home share matches in 13 countries.
Home sharing may not be a solution for everyone’s housing challenges, but it is an interesting option. Let us know your housing stories.