An innovative program from not-for-profit Care Connect is matching seniors and people with a disability with housemates who are happy to lend an extra hand in exchange for rent free accommodation.The Homeshare program, delivered by Care Connect in partnership with Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre Inc, offers a fresh approach to people who may need additional support to remain living independently.
“With Australia’s population ageing and the proportion of individuals who live alone on the rise[i], we need to find new ways to support each other as a community,” Care Connect Chief Executive Officer Paul Ostrowski said.
“Homeshare is a unique way of bringing together people with complementary needs, so that they can assist each other in a safe, supported environment.
“By providing additional support at home, Homeshare can also help to alleviate some of the pressure on family and friends to bridge the gap between services and need.”
Mr Ostrowski emphasised that Homeshare did not take the place of existing or future support workers and care services.
“The people who share the house are not there to provide personal care – they might do things like walk the dog, or help with the cleaning, gardening, shopping or cooking,” he said.
“For many of our clients, the biggest bonus is not so much the chores that the homesharer can help with, but the sense of security and safety that comes with having someone else in the house, particularly overnight.”
All participants undergo thorough security checks and sign an agreement outlining their obligations, which usually include about 10 hours of household duties per week. Homeshare coordinators provide ongoing monitoring to ensure the arrangement remains mutually beneficial.
The Homeshare Model has operated internationally for more than 25 years, but this is the first time it’s been offered across Melbourne’s north and west. Homeshare has already formed several successful partnerships, such as that between Rose, 85, and Olympia, 49, who have been living together in Rosanna for eight months.
“If it wasn’t for Homeshare I would be in a nursing home for sure,” says Rose, whose health is declining due to heart problems and mobility issues.
“Olympia is just marvellous and helps me with so much,” says Rose.
Rose’s husband passed away in 2014 and her adult children do not live nearby. For Olympia, who late last year returned to Australia after living in Greece for the past 30 years, the arrangement provided a sense of stability and companionship.
“We go lots of places together, and it’s nice to take care of someone again,” Olympia says.
“I’m very happy; I feel secure here.”
The Homeshare program is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian Government under the HACC program.
Rose and Olympia are available for interview.
Care Connect is a leading, not-for-profit, in-home care provider in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, supporting people to live independent lives at home and in the community. Care Connect provides information, advice and guidance to assist people navigate and access support services they need to live the life they want. Staff specialise in coordinating services with people of all ages and abilities including children, young people, adults, older adults and carers.
Media enquiries contact:
Sally Johnstone, General Manager, Marketing and Business Development, Care Connect
M: 0402 217 395 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics