At Moving On, we're always interested to learn about the latest ideas and thinking around housing options, especially for seniors. Obviously there are various housing ideas for those in later life but 'homesharing' is one option which, although it offers great potential in the right circumstances, has not attracted the same level of attention as it has with our European neighbours.
Schemes can vary slightly between providers but generally involves a householder, often an older person, giving up one of their spare rooms to a homesharer, often a student or young professional. In return for their room, the homesharer provides a number of hours of home help each week, which is agreed between the householder and homesharer (eg companionship, help with shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc). This gives the householder valuable support with domestic tasks around the home, as well as the social aspect and reassurance of living with someone. Note that a homesharer is not an alternative to a carer.
Homeshare schemes are co-ordinated by agencies that act as a go-between for the householder and homesharer. They are responsible for vetting the homesharer (Disclosure and Barring Service checks, references and interviews) and ‘matching’ the two parties. Fees will vary between agencies but are often either considerably cheaper than the rental would otherwise be on a property or the care/support that would otherwise need to be paid for. SharedLivesPlus is one organisation that co-ordinates a 'Homesharing' programme - for further info, see http://sharedlivesplus.org.uk/about-shared-lives-plus/home-share .
What a great idea to marry up the needs of varying generations - this is not for everyone, but where both parties have a need that's fulfilled it's surely a win-win all round.