I’ve included this post in the pacing series/category because it should help you conserve spoons of energy.
At the end of last year my partner started working away in the week (we were meant to move together but this was difficult, partly due to issues around my health). Being at home by myself was draining me and despite the potential improvement from beta blockers I was actually getting worse because I was having to do so much more around the house (even with family and neighbours chipping in).
I found out about homesharing and we now have a lovely homesharer who spends roughly 10 hours a week cooking for me, doing light housework and walking our dog. The benefit to us is more than this though because she’s around most of the time for peace of mind, answering the door etc. She gets free rent and can share the healthy, organic food that she cooks for me. It is working out really well so far.
Name/s of approach: Homesharing Schemes
Heritage/Spiritual context*: n/a
“In Homeshare, someone who needs a small amount of help to live independently in their own home is matched with someone who has a housing need and can provide support or companionship… Usually no rent is charged, but the household bills are shared, and in return the Homesharer will help out around the house, for example by cooking meals, running errands, shopping trips and providing company. Homeshare works because a new relationship, designed to bring benefits to both people, is balanced with clarity and safeguards to protect everyone.”
– See more at: http://www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/homeshare#.dpuf
Accepting Sceptics’ view^: The arrangement involves a lot of trust as they are not legally a tenant or an employee and you have to rely on an informal agreement. Also, it is obviously only a ‘free’ resource if you already have a room to offer, which has an implied cost. We worked out that this way round was better than renting out the room and paying a carer to come in. In different circumstances this may not be the case.
What to expect: if you go through a local scheme you will probably have a phone conversation followed by a visit from the co-ordinator. They may ask fairly personal questions about your lifestyle and interestes in order to find you a good match. They will also meet up with potential homesharers and may have someone who may be compatible already or they may advertise for someone for you. They should take up references and police checks on your behalf so check this. You will get to meet the potential person before agreeing. You both write/read a Homeshare Agreement so that expectations are clear. There is usually a trial period when the homesharer moves in. Homeshare Schemes will probably charge an admin fee.
We signed up for an official scheme but ended up arranging it independently because we needed someone quickly. I had previously done a similar job to the co-ordinator so probably felt more confident than most people would. We advertised and took up references ourselves. We weren’t able to do a police check but our homesharer is employed by an organisation I know would be thorough about things like that. We met up with a couple of people before finding our homeshare match (the biggest issue seemed to be their work demands in terms of shiftwork etc). I adapted the homeshare agreement from a template one I had (email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy of the template).
Helps with: conserving energy, keeping on top of chores, companionship, staying in your own home.
Not so good for: anyone who doesn’t have a spare room; someone who needs more than 10hrs support (although they will be present in the house for longer than this); people who value privacy or solitude. Homesharers don’t get involved in personal care such as washing you.
Cautions: I get the impression that most arrangements have some difficulties after the initial honeymoon and I’m expecting this. From what I have read, more substantial problems tend to arise if the homesharer is too immature to be reliable or the householder has unreasonable expectations. We have tried to be clear about expectations from the outset so that it doesn’t become personal later on. We are also paying a cleaner because we have worked out what can be achieved in 10 hours and we don’t want cleaning to be a main part of what our homesharer does.
My questionª: how does this effect people entitled to Housing Benefit? Is it a way around the Bedroom Tax problem?!
Edit: BTW I’ve noticed that this has been shared quite a few times on Facebook which is great. It suggests that this is of interest to the spoonie community. You may also be interested to know that they seem to have more trouble finding householders than Homesharers (ie more people want to help out for free rent). Also many householders are older people holding out for a car driver. If this doesn’t matter to you (eg you’re housebound) you may find it easier to make a match.
Key for Resource and Review Posts:
- I will indicate if specific religious belief is required. Most meditative practices are rooted in spiritual traditions but you do not usually need to believe anything specifically to benefit from using them.
^ This is either a best-guess at other reasons for the positive effect of the practice or based on secular research. It should make it more palatable to those of you who can’t believe the official position (see ‘Why, sometimes…‘).
ª Can you help me to understand? If so, please comment.
º Indicates length of session and whether there is background music.