Research from the Centre for Ageing Better confirms that home is where most people want to be, with 80% of homeowners aged 65 and over wishing to stay where they are. Often older people will have some support needs or may have become isolated or anxious about living alone. This is where Leeds Homeshare can help.
The scheme offers an innovative way of doing this – bringing old and young together in a way which benefits both. Homeshare matches someone who needs some help to live independently in their own home (householder) with someone who has a housing need (homesharer). In return for low cost accommodation the homesharer provides a minimum of 10 hours of support per week to the householder.
The idea is that with reassurance and companionship householders will continue to live full, happy and healthy lives. Householders will also be able to pass on their skills and experience to enrich the lives of those that share with them.
Martha Wilkins, Leeds City Council’s Homeshare Co-ordinator tells us all about Jon and Margaret who are now sharing thanks to Leeds Homeshare.
Jon and Margaret – their story
Martha says: “Jon and Margaret have a 71 year age gap and are enjoying sharing a house with each other
They live in a large house in Roundhay, before this Jon, who is 27, lived in student accommodation that was very expensive. Jon is a music student at Leeds Arts University specialising in vocals. He says he wanted an alternative to student accommodation because during his first year there ’I felt very isolated, a bit lonely and my flat mates were very untidy, the kitchen was a mess all the time and I didn’t like cooking in there. My bedroom was really small & I felt like I was in a prison cell. I enjoy spending time with older people and I wanted to help and give something back in return for living in a home. The Homeshare fees are £150 per month and that’s affordable rather than £800 per month for a room in student accommodation’.
He’s very much a people person and loves hearing about others’ stories and experiences, especially with the elderly, as he says they have so much to offer and wanted a bit of companionship, which he’s really valuing now they’re sharing. They are a perfect ideal example of how Homeshare benefits sharers and has good intergenerational effects.
Jon says he’s ‘close to both of my grandparents and visit them often. Just recently I have helped my grandad out with his gardening, as he is getting a little frail now and needed a bit of motivation. We also take my Nan and Grandad out to my Mum’s regularly for dinner to keep them company. I have on several occasions performed at my Nan’s sheltered accommodation, singing songs to the residents which they love, it’s nice to see smiles on their faces!”
Martha adds ‘Jon is gay and is open about his sexuality and has campaigned for LGBT issues and is passionate about Homeshare, he is now on our Homeshare Project Board. Jon and is keen to promote Homeshare for LGBT groups as sometimes older LGBT people don’t have children and may live alone and be isolated in older age and it’s very important for Homeshare to be accessible. He’s a very caring young man.
Margaret is 98, she wanted a sharer as she felt this would give her the benefit and reassurance of having someone in the house overnight.
Margaret wanted a sharer to do odd jobs sometimes and occasionally pick up things from the shops and do jobs she can’t do like replacing light bulbs.
Margaret is a widow and is fiercely independent and doesn’t want Jon to look after her. She was happily married for over 50 years and brought up 3 sons and also her 2 granddaughters as their parents were working abroad.
She is a very dynamic lady and is well known in Roundhay because of the big parties her sons used to have in their large cellar. She was given her first car by her Dad when she was 18, when it was unusual for women to drive. She loved driving and said as soon as she got in her car felt relaxed it, was her happy place. She drove ambulances during the war and her husband never learned to drive as he said she was his chauffeur!
She drove for the WRVS for 25 years, stopping when she was 70 and was presented with a medal for volunteering by the Queen Mother at St James Palace. She is very proud of this experience, she makes it come alive when she talks about it – she took a cucumber sandwich home wrapped in a fancy napkin with the royal crest on and gave it to her granddaughter as a souvenir.
Margaret is really enjoying having Jon sharing – she enjoys beating him at Scrabble! She is very strong, independent and has a twinkle in her eye.”
Thanks Martha – it sounds like Jon and Margaret really enjoy sharing a home.
We welcome applications from people interested in the scheme – especially householders – so if you are a person with a spare room, or a young person looking for somewhere to live, please consider Homeshare. It might be right up your street.