WHAT IT IS?
Nearly half of Britons over the age of 65 say that television or pets are their main form of company. This is highly problematic as studies have linked loneliness to mental decline and increased mortality. They also have shown that regular social interactions improve overall health. On the other side, student accommodation has become increasingly expensive and hard to find. In a increasingly precarious economy, students are facing difficult life situations that negatively impact their education.
In several European cities, a new kind of accommodation scheme is undergoing early stages of experimentation: inter-generational housing. The idea is to connect students that would benefit from free accommodation in exchange for time spent with elderly people. Examples: ‘Homeshare’ in the UK, ‘Humanitas’ in Deventer, ‘Judson Manor’ in Cleveland.
WHY IT’S COOL?
By providing (1) affordable (or free) housing for young people and (2) companionship and support for elderly people who live on their own, two shortcomings of our society are tackled with one stone.
How can this be not Cool? Students can better focus on studying instead of living two lives with a full-time job just to pay the bills. Elderly people would not be isolated in their homes or forced to move into care homes.
WHY IT HAS FUTURE GROWTH POTENTIAL?
This is not just a replicable healthcare model but a whole new approach to community-building. How else can we go about deconstructing models of care that are based upon segregation, hierarchy, and — all too often — infantilization? It’s a model that could be replicated anywhere around the globe.
For further information about Homeshare please click here!