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Rent-free 'Homeshare' deal as lodger helps with chores
FOR 81-year-old Hubert Allen having an extra pair of hands around the house makes all the difference.
The grandfather-of-six, from Old Marston, was widowed last year and now has an informal ‘homeshare’ arrangement where his lodger pays no rent in exchange for supporting him with household chores.
This is a scheme that Age UK Oxfordshire is hoping to introduce, which matches older people who have a room to spare, with younger people who are prepared to lend a hand in return.
Mr Allen said: “I think it is an extremely good idea, especially for an elderly person like myself.
“The arrangement we have is that she will do the laundry, ironing and the house cleaning.
“It is very convenient for her because I am only 15 minutes walk from the John Radcliffe Hospital where she works.”
Shyni Joseph was Mr Allen’s wife Phoebe’s carer until Mrs Allen died on her 80th birthday in September last year and has been living rent-free with Mr Allen since then.
Mrs Joseph, 42, a healthcare assistant, said: “I think that homeshare is a good idea because many old people are lonely. We are like family.”
Mr Allen, who has three children, added: “It is as much a comfort for them as much as for me.
“It is so much better to be able to stay in one’s familiar surroundings and that is made possible by having another person in the house.”
Homesharers typically offer help including cooking, cleaning, shopping or transport and usually there are no rental payments.
But both householders and homesharers pay modest charges to Homeshare co-ordinators to cover the costs of match-making and then supporting the matches.
There will be a vetting process to make sure the scheme is safe.
Elizabeth Mills, director of Homeshare International, said: "Homeshare is an extremely simple concept and often results in lifelong friendships.
“So many young people today have not had the chance to spend a lot of time with their grandparents’ generation and Homeshare offers the opportunity for younger people to help older people, and vice versa.”
Paul Cann, chief executive of Age UK Oxfordshire, said: “Homeshare helps an older person who feels less lonely and better able to stay in their own home.
“It helps a younger person who may be on low income to live and work in the city. It promotes inter-generational understanding. It provides a practical solution to housing problems.”
The survey is open until Monday, September 30 and can be completed online at ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire or call 0844 887 0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy.