Feature: Why homeshare can be beneficial for older people

Caroline Cooke, Director at social enterprise Share and Care Homeshare explains why collaboration between social care & homeshare can support better outcomes for older people

The homeshare model is a well-established initiative, widely recognised as an alternative support route for older people. More so than ever, homeshare is progressively being acknowledged across the health and social care sector for the invaluable role it plays in helping people in their latter years to remain independent for longer.

The homeshare model sees older people, who wish to live as independently as possible in their own home, matched with younger people who provide practical help and companionship in exchange for an affordable place to live.

It is, in effect, intergenerational living. This approach helps address many issues that the sector faces, it is tried, tested, proven and, importantly, has a life-changing positive impact on older people.

Homeshare: an extra pair of hands

A clear distinction to make is that the role of homeshare is not to replace personal care; instead, it is part of the solution to help achieve social care’s strategic aims of enabling independent living. It achieves this in a number of ways.

As people begin to age and certain tasks become more challenging for them, requiring extra support, they are often immediately signposted to expensive live-out carers or support workers, or to residential care, which may mean a relocation away from friends, family and their community.

In many cases, this is not only an unnecessary choice but also an unwanted choice.

Older people with lower-level support needs may simply need an extra pair of hands to put a meal together, keep the house tidy, or shop for groceries.

This is where the homeshare model provides an alternative, cost-effective and more sustainable solution, giving support in a way that other avenues do not. For social care professionals, the key step is to refer older people to homeshare before they reach crisis point; largely because homeshare is highly effective at helping to overcome the issues people face as they age.

green and white mug

Improving quality of life

Homeshare has an enormous impact on older people improving quality of life and improving physical and mental health.

  • Reduces anxiety, increases confidence
  • Increases feelings of security
  • Alleviates loneliness and social isolation
  • Supports independent living
  • Reduces the risk of falls
  • Encourages self-worth
  • Provides practical help
  • Cooking and sharing mealtimes
  • Shopping
  • Help around the house
  • Reassurance for families
  • Early warning alerts from the sharer if the householder is ill

Homeshare means that older people have the companionship of another person living in the property, who has also agreed to provide a set number of hours of support per week, usually 15, to help with day-to-day tasks.

The cost of practical help of this kind can soon add up if secured through separate channels, whereas homeshare costs just £35 per week.

Companionship is a major benefit of homeshare, particularly since the pandemic during which time loneliness and isolation have hit an all-time high. It’s comforting for older people to know that there is someone else in the house overnight, just as it is comforting to have someone to have a chat with over a cup of tea or to play a game of cards with.

Social care & homeshare

Research commissioned by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) reported that homeshare could lead to significant cost savings (more than £18,000 per homeshare over a 9 month period) through reduced use of A & E, no resulting requirement for hospital admission because there is someone at home, reduced use of respite day services for help with household tasks, and reduced use of community services.

For social care workers, the referral route is quick and easy; people can be signposted to homeshare service organisations such as Share and Care Homeshare, or another option is to encourage self-referral.

We have certainly noticed an increase in the referrals to Share and Care Homeshare since the outset of the pandemic, and we hope that more social workers are made aware of, and recognise, the positive impact of homeshare as a valuable community service, not only on the health and social care economy but importantly in the way it benefits older people and their families.

Homeshare is a sustainable model for social care, supporting transformation, and the future of service delivery.

Homeshare in practice: during the pandemic

At the start of the pandemic, we found a sharer to move into the London home of Flo, who has dementia.

Her daughters, who live elsewhere in the UK, wanted to give Flo some company and practical help, while at the same time giving them the reassurance of an extra point of communication and to know that their mum had some support.

A warm, active and sociable lady, Flo loved going out to see friends, taking bus rides, going to the shops. She was not the sort of person who would be happy to stay at home, and nor indeed constantly remember the isolation rules. It was challenging, but Flo’s Sharer,

Luciana, is very creative; she spent time with Flo keeping her busy and engaged with craftwork, doing puzzles, gardening and, as Flo was learning Italian, reading Italian books. Luciana was also able to help Flo get online for Italian lessons and online exercise classes and make Flo’s lockdown birthday a happy one, even though her family couldn’t visit.

Luciana also had the brilliant idea of going to the park when restrictions allowed – not for a normal walk, but to pick up litter. They took a litter stick and as well as Flo really enjoying the activity, she was also really boosted by the overwhelming response of passers-by, stopping to say, ‘well done’. Thanks to one of Flo’s granddaughters, they now have matching litter-picking vests which really help them to stand out!

Luciana is a thoughtful Sharer who has made an enormous positive difference to Flo’s life, especially through lockdown, and given Flo’s family peace-of-mind.

Community Interest Company (CIC), Share and Care Homeshare is the largest and most experienced homeshare provider in the UK and offers a bespoke nationwide service. Contact our friendly team for advice on how homeshare can help your social care teams on 020 3865 3398, email, and visit


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top