Homeshare Answer to Growing Cost of Aged Care - Report
5 November 2015 at 11:20 am
New research by independent think tank, The Australia Institute, shows that around 80 per cent of Australians are worried that they won’t be able to afford aged care services.
And the report suggests that one solution to the problem of keeping older Australians in their own homes is the introduction of homeshare programs.
Report author and Director of Research, Rod Campbell is presenting the findings of the research at World Homeshare Congress in Melbourne. The Congress is examining the intergenerational challenges of ageing populations, housing affordability, social and disability services and global policy responses.
Among lower income earners, over 40 per cent said they are “very concerned”, with another 37 per cent said they were “concerned” about the future cost of aged care. Even among people earning up to $150,000 per year, 82 per cent of survey respondents felt concerned or very concerned about the costs of staying at home.
Campbell said that against this concern about the affordability of aging at home, the new report assesses the economics of Homeshare programs.
“Homeshare programs match older householders who live alone with younger homesharers,” Campbell said.
“Homesharers live with householders rent free and in return keep the householders company and perform ten hours per week of basic chores.
“It is a major benefit for young people struggling with rental markets, but more importantly, this is a way to help older Australians continue to live independently in their own homes.
“The concern about affording retirement care is palpable. Even the highest income earners are worried, with only 55 per cent of people earning over $200,000 salaries confident they could afford the services they will need.
“In addition to the powerful economic argument to support more Homeshare programs outlined in this report, there is also an excellent opportunity for intergenerational engagement between young adults and our mature citizens.”
Homeshare programs already operate in several Australian cities. Campbell said one program in Melbourne’s south east has been running for 15 years.
“It has generated a net economic benefit of $11 million. A newer program in Canberra has provided a net benefit of $600,000 in just over two years,” he said.
Homeshare Australia President, Shirley Anderson, said it’s important to look at success stories from overseas.
“While Australia has concentrated on implementing the Homeshare model in the aged care and disability sectors, there is much to learn from our international colleagues who have broadened the reach of their programs into student housing, social housing and an amazingly creative homesharing pilot with homesharers being offered free accommodation in a nursing home,” Anderson said.
“This speaks volumes for the economic and social benefits of homesharing.”
The Australia Institute is funded by donations from philanthropic trusts and individuals, and commissioned research.