As the winter nights draw in earlier and the weather makes going out into the cold less tempting. Many pensioners who alone find themselves feeling lonely and isolated at this time of year.
This summer an interesting article in the Daily Mail spoke about co-sharing (sharing home with mature people) schemes in America, where elderly people live together and share the expenses of a home, which they wouldn’t be able to do on their own.
In this article a spritely New Yorker called Marcia Rosenfeld, who had lived in her rented her Brooklyn apartment for 43 years, was sharing her living space with 69 year old Carolyn Allen.
Marcia found that with rising living costs and rent increases she couldn’t stay in her home without financial help and Carolyn was looking for an affordable place to stay. Together, they are able to live in Marcia’s rented two bedroomed apartment because the amount Carolyn pays to Marcia helps to pay the bills and the rent.
In the UK we have a similar scheme called a Homestay. This scheme is available in different parts of the UK and each organiser has different rules and regulations.
For example the Home Share West Scheme, based in the Bath area, allows a person over the age of 30 to share a home, rent free with an elderly person. The sharer must give up ten hours a week to help the home owner with cleaning or shopping tasks and they must sleep at the house for at least 3 evenings a week.
The Homestay scheme is regulated by Shared Lives Plus, an organisation that trains, supports and checks carers for their schemes, which is registered with the government’s care regulator. They provide care, support and home share for elderly and disabled adults.
Room for Tea is another home share scheme, which was set up Milena Bottero to help apprentices and interns who don’t have enough money for high rents in London. The scheme helps them find homes with people who have a spare room and want to share their home. The maximum amount that a home owner can charge under the government Rent a Room Scheme is £350, although some home owners charge less in return for some help with housework or childcare.
The American scheme for the elderly helps older people to stay in the area they have lived in for a long time and allows them to keep a home that they love. The schemes vetting process also ensures that they stay safe and have a person sharing their home who has a similar outlook on life and shares the same interests.
It’s a scheme that could help many elderly people in the UK. There are a great deal of pensioners who struggle financially and the extra money would make a lot of difference. It would also mean that people had companionship.
At this time of year having someone to talk to about treasured memories and sharing a Christmas meal, could make a big difference to their enjoyment of the festive season.