My first year as Homesharer

Last month we interviewed the amazing Alise Kirtley, celebrating her first year as Homesharer and this is what she said about her experience.

Why did you decide to Homeshare?

I wanted a good quality of life that I could afford and I decided to Homeshare, I was also going through personal changes as I was leaving a long term relationship and this was an ideal win-win option.

How did you find the matching process?

I found it incredible interesting, really worthwhile and it was until I went to the match meeting that I got a real feel of my current householder. I would recommend people not to judge people by their profile, it is essential to meet the householder.

We know that you have a very good relationship with your Householder, what would you say after your 1st year as Homesharer?

I feel that all the parties involved benefit from this agreement, me as younger Homesharer, my Householder and her family. I feel to certain extent that I have been adopted by the family and of course it is a responsibility but I am happy to take this responsibility.

We also know that you already work with people with dementia as consultant and freelancer, do you think your previous experience helped you to live with a Householder with dementia?

Yes, definitely but I have also learned a lot about dementia in the past year because living with someone with dementia has given me a broader knowledge of it.

How do you cope with all your responsibilities as freelancer/consultant and Homesharer?

I really don’t find it too much of a stress but it is about managing emotions, understanding the other person and keeping a balance between work, personal life and my role as Homesharer.

What would you advice to people who want to Homeshare?

It is a huge personal growth journey and a way to save money but actually it can be lonely living on yoAlise Kur own, it is actually nice to share a meal with someone. Homeshare is a match made in heaven, there are so many older people that are lonely and isolated and a lot of younger people that can’t afford housing, so get in touch with Novus-Homeshare.

Alise Kirtley is also an amazing singer and songwriter, please listen to her HERE



Arts can play a valuable role in the wellbeing of older people

Health authorities have long known that the arts can play a valuable role in the physical and mental wellbeing of older people. A Royal Society of Public Health report in 2013found that music and the visual arts improved vital signs, reduced anxiety and blood pressure and highlighted dance for its potential in easing loneliness and in encouraging non-verbal communication. Physical benefits include improvements in balance, strength and gait, which reduce the risk of falls.

Deepak Chopra in his book “Ageless body, timeless mind” talks about real case studies where an environment of music and arts helps older people feel younger and healthier.

Another charity that promotes the arts in vulnerable communities is Create and they have programmes in different parts of London. Visit their website

Loneliness is the ‘biggest threat’ to older people this winter

More than half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone, according to the Office for National Statistics, and two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say television is their main form of company.

Research also shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health. It is believed that a lack of social connections creates as much risk of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience and it can have wider impacts on physical health.

Please, if you have not yet done so, do check in on your friends, neighbours and family if you believe they could be lonely or vulnerable at this time. Just a simple visit could really make a person’s day.

Professor Ian Philp CBE, Chief Medical Officer for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and former national Older People’s Tsar, says that looking out for older relatives or neighbours is the single most effective thing which we can all do to prevent unnecessary deaths during the winter.

He says:

“Older people are one of the groups who feel the effects of winter the most. Many older people have chronic health problems, such as breathing difficulties, which can be made worse by the cold weather, and on top of this they have the worry of how much it will cost to heat their home or to be able to feed themselves properly.

“Winter can also be a very lonely time for older people, especially if they live on their own. Many people will be afraid of going out in the icy weather in case they fall, so will stay inside but miss out on that vital human contact which we all need to stay happy and engaged in our communities.”

Key actions:

If we all make a commitment to regularly check in on at least one older person in our street or neighbourhood this winter, the potential impact on both their health and social well-being would be huge.

You can also call organisations providing Homeshare or befriending services for older people, older people would get regular support at home and reduce feeling of loneliness.


Related articles:

Jeremy Hunt calls for Britain to adopt Italian system of caring for the old

by: Mail Online

Families with elderly relatives should consider employing ‘nannies for grannies’ to look after them rather than relying on the state, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The Health Secretary wants Britain to follow Italy, where it is common for elderly parents to move in with their children instead of moving to a care home. Under the system of ‘badanti’, families then employ au pairs to care for aged loved ones.

Mr Hunt said families need to think radically because there will simply not be enough care home places in the future for all the pensioners who may need them.

But he argued there will never be enough money in the system for the state to step in and provide all the care that is necessary – and sources ruled out tax breaks and financial support to ease the cost of hiring nannies.

Mr Hunt reignited the debate about whether Britons do enough to look after their families in old age at the Tory conference this week.

He said the country would need to build 100 care homes a month to cope with the rising numbers of frail elderly.

And he spoke of how he impressed he was with how families in the Far East take in their aged loved ones, having learned about the practice from his Chinese wife.

The Health Secretary has also praised a number of British schemes, such as HomeShare which arranges accommodation for students and others in return for looking after older people.

Age UK warned recently that a million elderly are looking after themselves at home with no support from family and friends to get out of bed, wash and cook.

The figure has risen by 10 per cent in a year.

Earlier this week Mr Hunt warned that the number of over-70s in Britain will rise by one million during the five years of this parliament.

At a fringe event at the Tory conference, he said: ‘We’ve got to ask whether we need to make it easier for people to have their elderly parents living with them.’

Warning: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt claims the State cannot afford to look after elderly people

Warning: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt claims the State cannot afford to look after elderly people

6 Reasons Why University Students Make Good Homesharers

By Jessica Richards

Contrary to popular belief, students aren’t always wild and rowdy youths who are said to be difficult to live with, in fact many students who are looking for a quiet life in order to focus on their studies look to homeshare and are great to live with, not to mention it doesn’t affect your Single Person’s Council tax discount (if you have one) as being a student exempts them from this fee!

Here are 6 reasons why University students make great homesharers!

1)      They’re eager and happy to help!

Despite the idea that students are often inexperienced with how to do simple house chores, it’s actually quite the opposite. Students are eager and happy to help, if there’s a job they are unfamiliar with, they will be willing to learn!

2)      They’re always up for new experiences!

Students are used to the strange and unusual, they thrive for new experiences particularly ones that can lead to some great stories, so whether you enjoy knitting, watching documentaries or even going on trips, we’re sure we can find a student who shares an interest with you!

3)      They are respectful and considerate, particularly when it comes to privacy!

Everyone likes their own privacy, and those who have experienced living with a bunch of people under the same roof know the importance of being respectful of eachothers personal space and being aware of how to conduct yourself in a manner than can help to a household being harmonious. Most students that come to us are looking to live away from the hustle and bustle of student housing and into a more calm and welcoming environment of home life. Students are respectful and considerate, and know when you give you privacy, mostly because they’re looking for the same things in return!

4)      They can adapt quickly to most situations.

Being a student means you’re around other people from a range of backgrounds, cultures and religions. Everyone is different and a walk through the University campus can be a different experience every day. It’s safe to say that as a student you become accustom to many different situations and you learn to adapt to fit in as best as you can. Homesharing is a different experience but a challenge most will accept and successfully accomplish with the help of a great householder!

5)      They usually have a flexible schedule.

Because different courses have different timetables, student homesharers aren’t always restricted to a schedule of Monday – Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm this may come in handy for householders looking for a homesharer who can be available during certain weekdays, for your everyday we can find a student whose schedule can be closely matched with yours! As long as you remain open, a student’s timetable may not be perfect but they can be ideal due to their flexibility.

6)      They enjoy socialising and will enjoy exchanging stories with you.

The biggest part about homesharing is being able to have another person to socialise and share your stories with. Many students enjoy hearing about your great adventures and the common topic to be asked by students who either come from abroad or out of town is: ‘has this area changed since you first moved here?’ it’s fascinating to know the experiences a householder has had in the area the homesharing is living now and having this shared experience can make for a really great bond. Not only that but some students may even have their fair share of adventure stories to share with you!

Here at Novus Homeshare, we’ve had many success stories when it comes to Householders being matched with a student Homesharer.

A few months ago we matched a student Nurse, Anthony with a lovely gentleman called Tom. Tom was living in a home he had shared with his beautiful wife and children, unfortunately he was now living alone and had begun to feel lonely. When Anthony came along they instantly clicked and found a great connection in their search of companionship. As a student Nurse, Anthony found himself having a busy schedule during the periods when he was away on placement, but still found the time to regularly call Tom to make sure he was okay and see how his day was going. They enjoy sharing their stories of the week whilst having dinner together. From Homesharing Anthony has been able to have affordable accommodation whilst being able to provide another person with extra security and companionship, and for Tom he has found a new lifelong friend whilst staying in a home that is filled with cherished memories.

Anthony and Tom

Anthony & Tom


Different ways to support an elderly person

There are different ways you can support an elderly person, most of them need emotional and spiritual support to have a happy balanced life.

The following are practical tips on how to support elderly relatives or neighbours, they will be thankful and you will make a difference in their lives.

  1. Listen to their story; most elderly people just want someone who can listen to them. 

When you pay attention to an elderly person and listen to whatever they have to share with you, they feel understood and less lonely.

  1. Give them your time.

Spend some time with them, make conversations, for example: talk about something you did at work or at school, ask them ‘How their day was?’ watch movies with them or go for a walk, take them to a restaurant and enjoy the meal. Do some gardening, most elderly people like gardening because it’s very relaxing; also they feel stress free and connected to nature.

  1. Invite them to join a faith club.

Joining a faith club often helps, because they will be surrounded by people with similar background to them, it will bring more positivity and peace in their life.

  1. Meditation

Meditation helps with stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and negativity. Meditation is an ancient healing therapy, which calms your mind brings peace and it’s a very relaxing therapy, which makes you focus on the positive side of your life, it will change your perspective on the way you live your life.

  1. Listen to Music

Encourage them to listen to music as therapy. Some music brings back the wonderful old memories, it makes our brain focus on the rhythm and the beat, it makes us dance and sometimes it makes us want to sing. Most meditators listen to spiritual music to calm their mind and remove all the negativity from their mind before they start their meditating practice.


Research done by our Homeshare Volunteer Disha Dhanki. Sources used:

You’re never too old: People who achieved great things after 60!

Article by Emily Retter from Mirror

Because you are never tool old to achieve great things, read these inspirational stories, that will move your heart and change your life!!!

…to pass a driving test

The oldest person to pass a driving test is the late Lord Renton, a Tory peer and former minister, who did so shortly before his 95th birthday in 2003.

He’d actually been driving since the early 1930s but back then there was no formal driving test.

Older drivers face no restrictions apart from being obliged to renew their licence every three years after their 70th birthday.

Christopher Plummer poses in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards
Getty – Christopher Plummer poses in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

…to win an Oscar

The oldest male and female Oscar winners are Jessica Tandy, at the age of 80, and Christopher Plummer, aged 82.

Jessica, a British-American stage and film actress, enjoyed a 67-year career before her death in 1994. She appeared in more than 100 stage productions and had more than 60 roles in film and TV.

She won her Oscar for 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy for which she also received a coveted BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

Christopher Plummer made his film debut in 1958’s Stage Struck. The Canadian is probably best known as widower Captain von Trapp, who sings Edelweiss in the hit 1965 musical film The Sound of Music.

He won numerous awards over his seven-decade career but his first Oscar came for Best Supporting Actor in, ironically, Beginners in 2012.

St Stephen's Tower (Big Ben) and the Houses of Parliament
PA – Oldest democracy: The Houses of Parliament

…to be Prime Minister

The oldest person to become PM was Lord Palmerston at the age of 71. Born in 1784, he entered the House of Commons at the age of 23. For 20 years he was a junior minister in a Tory government before changing parties, becoming the most successful Whig Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister in 1855.

Serving twice as PM, he was the most recent to die on office. After catching a chill that led to a violent fever he died, aged 80, in 1865.

Palmerston was only the fourth non royal to be given a state funeral – after Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

Vera Lynn
PA – Top of the pops: Dame Vera Lynn

…top the album chart

Singer Dame Vera Lynn made British chart history this year by becoming the oldest living artist to reach the Top 20.

The Forces’ Sweetheart, who celebrated her 97th birthday in March, entered the UK’s Official Albums Chart at number 13 with Vera Lynn: National Treasure and then topped it.

…to be a doctor

Wisdom comes with age and Dr Leila Denmark certainly had both on her side. The American paediatrician was still working until her retirement on May 2001 at the age of 103.

She was also a super centenarian, living to be 114 years old.

Kimani Nganga Maruge
Getty – New boy: Kimani Nganga Maruge, 84

…to start school

Former Mau Mau fighter Kimani Maruge enrolled in the first year at the age of 84 on January 12, 2004. He said the Kenyan government’s announcement of universal and free elementary education in 2003 prompted him to learn to read. And he didn’t stop there. In 2005 Maruge was elected head boy. He did have maturity on his side…

…to run a marathon

Oldest woman to complete a marathon was Gladys Burrill from Hawaii, who was 92 years old.

She power walked and jogged the Honolulu Marathon in nine hours 53 minutes, earning herself the nickname “Gladyator”.

She had run her first marathon aged 86.

…to get a pilot’s licence

Retired Lt Col James C Warren is a former navigator of the Tuskegee Airmen – the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces.

At the ripe old age of 87 he became the world’s oldest person to receive his pilot’s licence.

Yuichiro Miura
Getty – Because it’s there: Yuichiro Miura (right) and his son Gota at base camp

…to climb Everest

An 80-year old Japanese mountaineer reached the summit of Mount Everest last year – and incredibly even did it after heart surgery. Yuichiro Miura, first climbed Everest when he was 70 and then again at 75. After his last climbed he said: “I think three times is enough.”

In 1970, while still a youngster, Miura skiied down Everest, using a parachute to slow his descent.

…to get a book published

Bertha Wood, born in 1905, had her first book, Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp published on her 100th birthday on June 20, 2005. The book is based on her memoirs, which she began writing at the age of 90. Talk about procrastinating…

…to go into space

John Glenn made history when, at the age of 77, he became the oldest person to travel in space.

Born on July 18, 1921, the American had been a pilot and a US senator when he was selected for the Mercury Seven – the elite Military test pilots picked by NASA to operate the Mercury spacecraft and become the first US astronauts.

Mohr Keet
Rex – Leap of faith: Mohr Keet makes his jump at 96

…to do a bungee jump

At 96, South African Mohr Keet became the oldest bungee jumper ever. Disproving any myth that you become more fearful as you get older, he jumped from South Africa’s Western Cape, which has a 708ft drop. It was his fifth jump and the pensioner also admitted to enjoying white water rafting and parachuting. You only live once.

Elizabeth Adeney
Rex – Oldest mum: Elizabeth Adeney with Jolyon

…to give birth

At 66, Elizabeth Adeney from Suffolk became Britain’s oldest mum when she gave birth to a son in 2009. She had undergone IVF treatment in Ukraine. Carole Hobson from Kent will be 62 this month – but on Christmas Eve 2010 became Britain’s oldest mother of twins. Freida and Matthew were conceived using donor embryos at an Indian clinic following four failed IVF attempts. The oldest mum in the world is Rajo Devi Lohan who gave birth in 2008 aged 69. The Indian, who fell pregnant following IVF treatment, nearly died from complications during delivery.

…to be a dad

Raymond Calvert, 79, was overjoyed at the birth of son Jamie Rai with partner Charlotte, 25, in 2010. The retired Lancashire market trader also has six grown-up children.

But he’s got nothing on the world’s oldest dad.

Indian farmer Ramjeet Raghav, became a dad at the age of 94 in 2010 when wife Shakuntala gave birth, aged 58, to their son Vikramjeet.

Loneliness is a serious health issue!

by BT UK News

A “very concerning” one in 10 (11%) elderly people have no close friends at all but it is the middle-aged who feel most lonely, according to official figures.

A “very concerning” one in 10 (11%) elderly people have no close friends at all but it is the middle-aged who feel most lonely, according to official figures.

Older people charities said that “living longer lives may mean living a lonelier life” after the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that those aged 75 and over were least likely to have at least one close companion.

But those aged 45 to 54 were likeliest to feel lonely (15%), with nearly half (49%) saying they met socially with friends, family or colleagues less than once a week.

The figures on “inequality in social capital by age and sex” released today also found that young people engaged less with their neighbours and cared much less about politics than their elders.

Simon Bottery, policy director of older people’s charity Independent Age, said: “These figures on loneliness are very concerning, partly on a simple human level because we don’t want neighbours and friends to be feeling that way.

“But it is also a serious health issue because we know that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so this is creating a health problem as well as a social problem.

“As individuals we have got to try even harder to keep an eye out for neighbours and friends and as families we have got to try and do that as well and stay in contact with elderly relatives.

“At a government level, it is important that we see it as a health problem and that local authorities and the NHS in particular take action to identify people who are lonely and isolated.”

The research showed that less than half (45%) of those aged 18 to 24 regularly stopped to chat to those living next door, compared to around eight in 10 (83%) people aged 65 to 74.

Four in 10 youngsters (39%) reported being quite or very interested in politics, while it was just under two-thirds (64%) for those who had recently reached retirement age.

Meanwhile, around one in four women (24%) and in one in five men (19%) aged 75 and over reported caring for someone sick, disabled or elderly within their household.

And far fewer women than men reported feeling safe walking alone in their local area, with 58% compared to 85%.

The report stated: “Social capital represents social connections and all the benefits they generate.

“High social capital means a society where people are connected, tolerant, help each other and spend time for the ‘common good’.

“They have trust in others and in institutions, and are empowered to shape the society they live in.

“This has positive impacts on a range of areas, such as personal well-being, health, employment and crime.”



Tackling Loneliness and Helping People

Young and old can bring complementary skills to a shared home

By  – BBC life & Style

French students, we are told, are starting to share flats with those over 65 rather than with someone their own hectic age. Such arrangements, of course, don’t necessarily involve students. There are several organisations over here matching an older person or a couple in want of a bit of company with someone younger and more agile who needs a decent place to live – and trying to match their tendencies to cook the same food, like as much fresh air, and tolerate their animals.

I’m actually on the brink of such an arrangement myself – though one likely girl had to be ruled out because she was not to be parted from her dog, which my cat would never have stood for.

I remember how my parents moved into a biggish flat near us and usually had a student to help out – often a music student because they still had a piano. I haven’t worked out how much of a good friend such a flat sharer needs to be, but you certainly need to know what you’re in for. The arrangement works well, it seems, when the younger person doesn’t want to fill the place with rowdy parties, or when the older flat owner doesn’t get the idea they’ve taken on a home help or a carer.


It certainly seems sound to check out a housemate ahead of time. It amazes me how many youngsters move in together knowing almost nothing except how well they share a bed.

What do you think?

Lloyds Bank Foundation and Big Lottery Fund invest £1m each in Homeshare

15th June, 2015. The UK’s first national homesharing initiative will kick off this month with the first pilot schemes being run by Age UK Oxfordshire and Novus Homeshare.

The Homeshare Programme has been developed by Lloyds Bank Foundation andBig Lottery Fund to combat two of society’s most prevalent issues – a lack of affordable housing for young people and the growing number of older people who are lonely or isolated – by matching young people seeking affordable accommodation with older people with a spare room. The younger party typically pledges around 10 hours of companionship and light domestic help (not including personal care) to their host in return for sharing their home. Both parties contribute an affordable monthly fee which covers the costs of the scheme and contributes towards creating a sustainable service.

The concept of homesharing is already in action in some local communities but has remained relatively niche. The new Homeshare Programme has been created to put homesharing on the map as a viable solution to rising housing costs and support issues for older people. The £2m investment from Lloyds Bank Foundation and Big Lottery Fund will support pilot schemes and evaluation of the programme in order to develop cost effective, replicable homesharing models, so that two different age groups can respond to each others’ needs in a safe and supportive way.

The first pilots will be run by Age UK Oxfordshire and Novus Homeshare:

Age UK Oxfordshire will receive £172,000 under the national Homeshare Programme over three years to develop a Homeshare scheme which will enhance the support it already provides for older people across the county. The organisation will seek to match members of the large student population and the high number of public sector workers in the city with an older population who may have spare rooms available. The charity will develop three basic models of short-term placements, academic year or term, and long-term arrangements, and will focus on determining the optimum length of time and conditions for homesharing relationships to develop and thrive.

Novus Homeshare is the only charity currently operating Homeshare in greater London and currently manages around 20 homesharing relationships. Under the Programme they will receive £183,200 over three years and will employ a new business development manager with the aim of expanding their offering across London. The funding will support core running costs and marketing, and is intended to help scale up the provision to more than 100 homesharing relationships over five years, whilst becoming fully self-sustainable.

The remainder of the £2m investment in the Programme will fund further pilots and support the development and evaluation of the programme as a whole. Funding for these pilots is available now.

Paul Streets, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales said, ‘Too often we separate generations of old and young. Homeshare brings them together in a really positive way so that the older person can retain their independence and the younger person can have somewhere affordable to live. True symbiosis. This important work sets out to prove it can work at scale and sustainably. We’re excited to be working with the Lottery and a range of delivery partners in common cause to prove it can be done in the UK.’

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of Big Lottery Fund said: “Through this partnership we want to bring together people both young and old supporting them to lead more independent lives and to explore the opportunities homesharing can offer. We will also use our specific pilots to test and learn the impact of opening up homesharing to people such as carers, those with disabilities and those with learning difficulties. We want the evidence from these pilots to help others to develop sustainable solutions to high housing costs as well as offering support for independent living.”

Other partners contributing to the Programme include Shared Lives Plus, Age UK,The Foyer Federation and The Social Care Institute for Excellence, each of whom will offer expertise to inform different areas its development and delivery. The national Programme will draw upon the practice of existing local, independent homesharing schemes with the aim of developing better support for participants, safer and more effective matching services, and implementing rigorous evaluations to refine the system. It will also work to create best practice resources to improve existing small and locally run homesharing schemes as well as informing new schemes.