Imagine not seeing another soul for a month and having to lose independence as you get older. This was the situation facing local resident Maggie.
“I was very anxious about the future. I really valued my independence, but it was getting harder for me to cope all on my own after recently losing my husband. All I needed was companionship at night and a helping hand at home”
Maggie is far from alone. The sad reality is that more than 400,000 older people in the UK have an unmet need for companionship and help with practical household activities. The charity Crossroads Care CNL provides a simple solution called “Homeshare”.
In recent months Age UK reported that 17% of older people have less than once weekly contact with family, friends and neighbours with 11% having less than monthly contact and about 410,000 older people in the UK have a need for help with practical household activities that isn’t being met through council services.
Sarah Wallace, Head of Services at Crossroads Care CNL describes Homeshare as “a simple affordable service that matches people who feel vulnerable or isolated, and who need help and companionship around the home with people looking for accommodation (Homesharers) who are willing to help.”
The charity carefully selects homesharers who can help with things like cleaning, cooking, laundry and shopping, as well as providing friendship and security. For the safety of the older people, Homeshare carries out DBS and reference checks and works towards finding a person that matches the personality and lifestyle of the householder.
“There is an impending care crisis as the economic climate puts pressure on both council budgets and the income of individuals. We believe our Homeshare programme is part of the solution, as it helps older people remain at home, it supports social workers and at the same time it helps younger generations to find affordable accommodation in London” added Sarah.
Homeshare is part of a national network that supports and promotes the potential of the Homeshare programme. The scheme helps older people stay part of their community, enjoying their own home and their retirement. The Homeshare scheme also helps an older person to build a new supportive relationship safely. Once that’s in place; it makes daily tasks a little easier and helps older people keep their independence”.
In West Hampstead, Maggie now has Frankie. Frankie is originally from York but moved to London in 2013 to work at an arts charity. “I decided to homeshare because I love having input in someone’s life and at the same time I save on traditional London rents,” she explained. “Crossroads Care CNL have been good and matched us up perfectly. It’s important for the family to know that her relatives have someone at home that is keeping an eye, it is reassuring”
Maggie and Frankie live very close to the tube and overground in West Hampstead. The location is ideal for Frankie to go to work and when she comes back, she cooks for Maggie and they watch television together.
Frankie goes back to York one weekend a month and liaises with the family for someone to stay over at Maggie’s when she is gone.