Home sharing for the elderly a more viable alternative

Like many countries, Malaysia is rapidly ageing. By 2040, the Malaysian government estimates that the number of those over 65 years of age will increase from 5% in 2010 to over 14% – a huge increase.

For other countries in the region, and indeed around the world, there are not enough resources to address the needs of this growing segment.

Governments recognise the issue exists but are too strapped for cash to do anything. Ageing is certainly not a “sexy” issue to tackle.

There aren’t nearly enough elderly care providers, and resources aren’t available to build enough nursing homes, hospice facilities and hospitals.

In fact, many seniors may not even need a nursing home, but need something more than their own homes.

At the same time, more and more children either need to work outside the home, or have moved away to provide for their families. This leaves a gap in care for the elderly, and along with this, suitable places to live.

However, sharing homes can fix a variety of issues that the elderly face today.

1. Combatting loneliness. Evidence shows loneliness has a serious impact on our mental and physical health, which can lead to greater reliance on health and social care services. It can also lead to an increase in illnesses, and some would suggest, shorten one’s life.

2. Providing housing alternatives. Nursing homes or other types of “old age homes” aren’t necessary for all older people. Some people may just want to share time with others like them, while others may want to save on expenses or reduce the work they have to do around the home. It’s also a way of “downsizing” while maintaining some independence.

3. Being part of a community. As people age, and often as their friends and relatives die, the social network a senior citizen is used to rely on begins to shrink. Being part of a shared housing group offers an elderly person a renewed change to meet people and create new social circles as they age.

4. Helping keep older adults safe. It’s also better to have another person around the house. The saying “there is safety in numbers” holds true here.

Having other people around can help prevent both minor and major mishaps from occurring including leaving the stove on or falling when no one is around. More importantly, an elderly person’s friends will notice mood changes that can indicate bigger issues.

5. Letting the elderly ‘age in place’. Staying at home is the desire of most older adults, and home sharing can make this possible. For most, issues that seem minor are more important as one becomes older.

For example, it’s a little harder to make repairs around the home as you grow older. Running errands becomes more of a chore for older people. However, with home sharing, there’s often someone around to help out.

Home sharing isn’t for everyone, however, the rise in life expectancy is a good thing.

The key now is to ensure that you’re not only living longer but living well during your golden years. Innovations such as home sharing can go a long way towards doing just that.

This article was written by Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder & CEO of Eldershare (www.eldershare.co) and reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D). Eldershare residences are innovative doctor-managed senior-friendly residences where elderly people live well in shared upscale homes at a reasonable price per month. 24-hour care is provided. For more information please visit: https://care.eldershare.co/elderly_homes