Homesharing among students and seniors - a promising contribution to elder's satisfying experience of ageing in place?

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Staying at home in old age (“ageing in place”, see Sixsmith & Sixsmith, 2008) is generally considered as a possibility for elders to keep up their independence and autonomy and simultaneously not losing contact to existing social networks such as friends or family. There are, however, indications that remaining living at home in old age may involve various challenges, such as isolation. As a possible way to overcome these issues some scientists have referred to the concept of intergenerational homesharing among seniors and students (see Altus & Mathews, 2000). This housing form’s underlying idea is that pensioners offer affordable housing to students and in return receive companionship and assistance with daily tasks. This study investigated “to what extent the German homesharing program “Wohnen für Hilfe” provides a promising contribution to seniors’ satisfying experience of ageing in place”. It has been revealed that WfH does provide a promising contribution, however, as the program is at present generally facing low numbers of homeshare pairs, only few seniors can benefit from that. In order to change this, the current challenges of the program need to be tackled, whereby it should above all be concentrated on allaying seniors’ fears to engage in homesharing.
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