Helping Seniors Age in Place through Canada Homeshare

How can we help more seniors age in place, provide affordable housing opportunities to students, and support safe, caring, welcoming intergenerational friendships?

 

A few weeks ago I met with Canada HomeShare, an intergenerational housing program that addresses social isolation by bringing together seniors and students, who are bridging generational divides by providing students across the country with an affordable and flexible off-campus housing experience in the homes of older adults. 

In exchange for reduced rent, the student provides up to seven hours of companionship and/or assistance with completing light household tasks, such as preparing and sharing meals, tidying up, carrying groceries, or walking a pet.

Canada Homeshare has funding for a pilot program here in Alberta and I’ve helped try to connect them to potential academic, community, and research partners. In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the intergenerational initiative as an age-friendly best practice. Canada HomeShare is also building a network of “HomeShare” communities across the country that will be connected to researchers, health and community services, policymakers and clinicians, creating opportunities for knowledge exchange, data sharing, and the pooling of resources. 

As of March, 2021, there were about 670,000 seniors in Alberta. By 2035, close to one in five people in Alberta will be a senior, and there will be more than one million seniors in the province. The government has a strong focus on aging in community, but not everyone can afford to live in their own home. Anecdotally, there are approximately 12 million spare bedrooms across Canada.

There are other homeshare programs and initiatives worth investigating, and I know many informal home share arrangements exist. Pre-pandemic my family was excited to welcome students through the Canada Homestay Network program. Intergenerational homeshare can build relationships across generations, fight ageism, and support affordability for all parties. 

As we try to improve the well-being of Edmontonains and build an affordable city for all ages, stages, and wages, creative partnerships like Canada Homeshare could play a big part. 

To learn more please email [email protected] or visit www.canadahomeshare.com 

Phone: 780-496-8146
Address: 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, 2nd Floor, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7