Benefits for communities

Homeshare has evolved in response to more geographically scattered families who may struggle to meet all of a relative’s support needs whilst maintaining employment some distance away.

Homeshare enables people to form relationships with people they might not ordinarily get to know. It can lead to people, their families and friends forming links with people from different generations, races, social background and religions, which can last for many years.

The act of supporting each other in a Homeshare arrangement can give both parties a sense of value and esteem that they may find it difficult to find elsewhere, with Householders able to prolong their active participation in society.

Homeshare brings people into communities that they might not otherwise be able to live in for financial or other reasons. For example, it has the potential to bring younger people into communities inhabited primarily by older people.

Benefits for people with support needs

Groups who benefit from becoming a Householder include:

Older people for whom living alone causes anxiety or isolation, particularly where family and friends cannot provide full time support.

Disabled people who are moving towards independent living may benefit from some help or support from a Homesharer. Young people with a disability sometimes prefer a Homesharer of their own age as they make the transition into adulthood.

People who are caring for a relative, friend or parenting a child in challenging circumstances can feel alone and unsupported in their role.

People with mental or physical ill health may benefit from extra support, support with maintaining a medication regime or help with tasks such as reading mail, where a person has a visual impairment.

Greater choice and control:

Homeshare allows people to maintain their friendships, relationships and community links, gaining new independence or remaining in their own homes with safety, dignity and peace of mind.

Homeshare does not feel like a support service, which can be vital for many older people who are very reluctant to see themselves as “service users”.

Homeshare allows people who need a little support but who are not eligible for financial help with that to save money which can then be used to purchase support at a later date.

Health and wellbeing:

More decent meals and some hours of companionship can have a marked impact on a person’s health, anxiety levels and sleep. Householders may provide prompts to take medication or contribute to health in other ways.

Benefits for people who lack housing

People (both single people and couples) who could benefit from becoming a Homesharer include:

People with limited means, who are saving up to buy or rent their own place or who have financial difficulties.

Country Students needing accommodation near their place of study.

International Students needing accommodation near their place of study or those who wish some language assistance.

People leaving jobs that provided them with housing or who are relocating or move around frequently.

People in low paid jobs who work in an expensive area – including essential public services workers.

People facing a life change such as a divorce or bereavement and some women escaping domestic violence.

People who may face prejudice and discrimination when seeking housing.

People, usually young women, who for religious reasons do not want to live alone or with people of the opposite sex.

People with a learning disability who do not want to live alone but could offer a great deal to a Householder. 

Benefits for family carers

Sustaining care at home:

Homeshare can help families cope with the increasing support needs of an older or disabled relative.

Many families are geographically scattered, with family carers struggling to maintain caring without losing employment and constantly worried about their relative.

Other Intangible Benefits

Intangible benefits to homesharers

Most homesharers improved some intangible aspect of their quality of life. Some of these intangible benefits are listed below:

  • Friendly family environment
  • Quiet accommodation when studying
  • Cultural and language assistance
  • Secure accommodation during financial difficulty
  • Stability during personal hardship
  • Health and nutrition

A good example of an intangible benefit is international students benefiting from cultural and language assistance.

Intangible benefits are important aspects of the program and should not be ignored simply because they cannot be reliably valued in monetary terms. Indeed the matching of international, regional and other homesharers with the frail elderly contributes to an improvement in social wellbeing.

Intangible benefits to householders

Most householders have family members who benefit from the reassurance of knowing someone is with their elderly parents. In essence family reassurance is an external benefit accruing to family members from the householders own usage of care.

However, family members often take an active role in facilitating a match. As such some of the benefit to family members may be implicitly incorporated in the householders benefit. Attempting to directly measure the family benefit would risk double counting.

Benefits such as increased independence and the ability to remain at home are very important quality of life improvements from participation. Benefits of this nature are a result of receiving homesharer care and presence. They are represented in the demanded willingness to pay for those services and separate measurement would lead to double counting.

(Source, NAAPS, Good Practice Guide 2011)

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