The model will be facilitated by baby-boomers who will co-create the details of the idea i.e; co-designing all the interactions and the tools.
Baby-boomers interested in home sharing will lead their experience through the different interactions to meet potential housemates, choose the best match for themselves and agree on the nitty-gritty of moving in together. After moving in, the model will offer tools and a mediator to ensure the smoothest sharing experience as possible.
How the this idea will be delivered
Baby-boomer volunteers who will perform the facilitator role will mainly run the model. The baby-boomers that participated in the first stages of co-designing the idea clearly shared with us that they want to be the ones leading the model and the decision-making, as they expressed during our interviews: “What? That you are going to match me? No, I want to be able to decide who I will be matched with”.
There will only be a need for a co-ordinator paid staff to organise the volunteers’ time and perform the needed administrative tasks.
The program will have minimum costs that will be covered by baby-boomers interested in sharing a house paying a fee to participate in the program.
We have an established partner NGO keen to work with us and older people in the design, testing and implementation of the model.
How this idea will create value
We have identified four key impacts that our idea will have:
1. Overcoming loneliness and increasing a sense of belonging. Research suggests that the impacts of Loneliness and Social isolation on health and well-being can be severe. It is equivalent to: smoking 15 cigarettes a day, consuming 5 alcoholic drinks a day, it is two times as harmful as obesity and more harmful than not exercising. Social isolation results in a 26% higher death risk over 7 years and health impacts exist whether or not people feel lonely (Source of data: Beer and Faulkner, 2013 University of Adelaide and Age UK). One of the participants we met explained it as: “I don’t want to live on my own. It’s not comfortable. The cat and I have these long conversations and she’s really not interested. I would be happy to have someone to share because then I could talk to people”
2. More than just matching people and space. We have drawn on global learning, such as the Homeshare sector report in the UK in 2016: which highlighted on average a Homeshare match lasts for 9 months and 60% of schemes report delivering other services in addition to Homeshare.
We have identified opportunities to re-design home sharing to meet older people’s needs by focusing on more than just matching people and a space. Some of the Adelaide based baby-boomers that we’ve done early co-design work with said: “The other [Homesharing] program I was in was just practical” “The most important thing for me is having a roof, yes, but also having a lifestyle. If I was to join this, it would be for the lifestyle”. The aim of this new model will be that people not only share a space but will also share support for one another and connection to their networks. The most relevant element baby-boomers we interviewed shared is that this model will match people based on same values and complementary skills; the first one will ensure a smoother sharing of the space and the second will enable them to support one another.
3. Affordable housing for socially disadvantaged baby-boomers. We learnt from Baby-boomers the struggles they’ve faced with housing. Exploring the data available for South Australia, in the “Housing Boomers report on housing” published by Shelter SA on February 2016 we know that:
• Homelessness increased by 27% for people aged 55-64 from 2006 to 2011
• Many older people are struggling with housing affordability, as South Australia has one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the nation
• The demand for affordable housing for older people will increase dramatically as the proportion of the population over 65 increases from 14% in 2011 to 20% in 2036
• More older people than ever before are entering retirement with a mortgage
• Housing issues facing older people are unique amongst specific demographics. Gender and cultural differences exist that are not reflected in policy or welfare schemes
This home sharing model will offer affordable housing for Baby Boomers as they age in the current unstable context by tapping into the latent resource in homes with under-utilised rooms.
4. Specially focused on baby-boomer women living on their own. As we have learnt through the ABS 2011 census data: older females are significantly more likely to be living in lone person households than males with 30% of females, compared to 18% of males, above the age of 55 living alone. The percentage of females above the age of 65 living alone (39%) doubles that of males (19%). Through “Our space” prototype we have learnt that the vast majority of people interested in being part of this home sharing model fit this demographic profile: women living on their own.
How this will benefit South Australia
In the short term we believe our idea will have an impact on the experience of ageing in South Australia, because people who successfully homeshare will:
• Build meaningful connections between them and this will result on people feeling closer to each other
• Feel motivated and energised for the future
• Learn new things: perspectives, skills, ideas
• Feel a sense of belonging
• Improve the utilisation of existing housing
• Position South Australia as a pioneer in implementing an innovative Home Sharing solution for baby-boomers
In the long term, this program could facilitate the following outcomes for South Australian baby-boomers as they age:
• Less lonely people
• People having renewed sense of identity
• Increase mental and physical health
• More empowered to cope with change and life transitions (increased resilience)
• It will also position South Australia as one of the international key players developing new ideas and concepts of home
Submitted by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
About The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
Creating a better way of living as we age, Our Place enables people 50+ to find their best compatible housemate. Run by older people for older people.