Florence is usually 95. She’s partially sighted, an RAF veteran, as well as also also used to be a keen tennis player.
She also carries a 27-year-old housemate called Alexandra.
When Florence’s husband died she said she “desperately needed company”. She was one of nine million adults from the UK who say they are often, or always, lonely.
By chance, Florence came across homesharing from the letters page of a newspaper. The initiative aims to tackle loneliness by matching older people looking for companionship that has a younger person in need of somewhere to live.
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that will’s a win-win arrangement – in return for keeping an older person company as well as also also helping around the house, a homesharer gets low-cost accommodation.
In 2016, Homeshare UK, a network of schemes from the UK, reported more than 0 active matches in cities including Leeds, Bristol as well as also also London.
Florence had her first homesharer ten years ago. Since then she’s had many different housemates.
Her most recent is usually Alexandra, a masters student through Newcastle. We spoke to them about how that will has worked out.
What made you want to do a homeshare?
Florence: I wanted to do that will because I was very lonely. When you retire through work you stop using your brain, you’re not as active as you used to be as well as also also you’re bored to tears. You are used to leading an active life as well as also also suddenly there is usually nothing.
My husband had died. My children had married as well as also also gone away. In a way that will was quite frightening because you don’t know if you’re going to fall, is usually something going to happen to you? Suddenly you’re a bit worried about even walking up to the local shops. So that will’s very important to have somebody to talk to instead of sitting here looking at four walls as well as also also thinking ‘what am I going to do today’.
Alexandra: On a completely practical level that will’s been important to me as a way I can come to London as well as also also do my studies otherwise that will could have been very difficult. The additional things that will I’ve got out of that will that will I wasn’t necessarily expecting is usually I have a brand-new friend as well as also also somewhere that will’s a actually homely environment. Somewhere I can feel safe as well as also also not isolated in a actually big city.
What is usually that will like living with someone through a different generation?
Florence: I’ve had different people over time as well as also also you have to make the effort. Sometimes that will works, sometimes that will doesn’t. At the moment that will’s working beautifully. We get on well together, which surprises me a bit because Alex comes through the North as well as also also I’m a Southerner!
Alexandra: We got on like a house on fire. I don’t think that will matters that will we’re through a different generation. We’ve got similar interests as well as also also I enjoy hearing about the things Florence can tell me through her early life as well as also also I think she enjoys hearing about what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. My granny’s going to be very excited because Florence has got me watching Coronation Street today, which I’ve resisted for many years!
What do additional people think about that will?
Alexandra: I think people are surprised, especially when I describe Florence as my housemate. however on the whole once I explain what that will’s all about people say ‘what a great idea’. People do ask however I could just call Florence a friend. I wouldn’t say I’m her ‘homesharer’. I could just say friends as well as also also housemates. as well as also also we get funny looks for that will, however what of that will.
What impact has the homeshare had on you?
Alexandra: When I moved to London in September I didn’t actually know anybody at all. I don’t have any family here so that will’s nice to have somebody I can come home to who’s interested in my day. that will’s a little bit of home life when you’re away through home.
Florence: I was from the RAF during the war as well as also also I was very involved in RAF Association events. So there was always somewhere to go, something to do, somebody to talk to. however when you get old you’re physically not as capable as you used to be. as well as also also you desperately need company.
You cannot believe the difference that will that will makes just hearing somebody from the house. Hearing movement upstairs as well as also also knowing that will that will’s not someone breaking in or something like that will. The best thing about that will is usually somebody coming in at night, round about six o’clock. that will’s when my family used to come home for their dinner as well as also also to me today, to hear the key from the lock, round about six o’clock, is usually wonderful.