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A diary entry as a homesharer

We have a diary entry via the Homeshare website, which brings old and young together, and supports social isolation and independence.

5th August 2017

A diary entry as a homesharer

It is a Saturday today and the garden fence is coming down, or more accurately – it has come down. W, her son and myself have all been outside admiring the transformation, which forms the first stage of a new garden project, involving the demolition of a fence that has stood in W’s garden for the last 30+ years! I have kindly been exempted from any involvement in this manual garden work, and my role as the homesharer today has been something of a less strenuous nature! It has become my usual routine to clean the kitchen and mop the floor every weekend, helping to check for any suspect vegetables that have been overlooked in the bottom drawer of the fridge (that is difficult for W to reach), as well as a general clean of whatever bit of the house might need attention, if I haven’t already done so in the week – today it was a hoover of the lounge and a little bit of ironing. W and I have become accustomed to this flexible routine since I moved in as a homesharer in January. What began with a list of tasks that her daughter had helpfully composed, has developed and adapted as we have come to know one another and I have become familiar with the house. Now I automatically proceed with my ‘routine’ jobs (the kitchen, the floors, washing, changing and ironing W’s bedding every two weeks, etc.), and W will more comfortably suggest other things that she needs a hand with, for example sorting out the freezer or the larder. I have even become very practiced at setting up for Bridge!

Today I am working from home, so after the tasks of the morning I have come upstairs to my room to get on with some of my own work, and W has a friend coming for tea. This evening we will get together for what we have established as our weekly Film Night. This is something that has naturally evolved and is mutually enjoyed. We realised that there wasn’t much we would both be interested in on television, so W’s extensive and interesting selection of DVDs and Videos have provided us with much more agreeable entertainment. Now Film Night is a weekly arrangement that is flexible according to both of our commitments. Tonight we are going to watch Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – the 1940s version (!), and I am confident that we are both looking forward to it. I have recently finished the book, and have since passed it on to W, who is now pacing through it, meanwhile W had seen the old film and wanted to revisit it and share it with me. We will derive great benefit from a relaxed evening and can then review the film together afterwards!

It is not every day that W and I spend so much time together. Yesterday I was at work from 10-7pm and when I got home at 7.45pm she had friends over for a game of Bridge, which I didn’t wish to interrupt. So aside from setting up the table in the morning before I left, and perhaps fetching in the milk or the post – generally checking in, we didn’t see each other until this morning when we caught up on the events of the day before.

Undertaking a Homeshare with W has been a transformative decision for me. It has enhanced my ability to be independent, and given me the opportunity to live in a city that I didn’t envisage being able to afford to stay in after graduating. The whole family have welcomed me with such kindness, and been more than accommodating as well as giving me plenty of space. I am quite a solitary individual, and so I was apprehensive beforehand about maintaining my personal space and quietude. However, W also has a need for independence and personal space, this is her family home of nearly 50 years after all, so with sensitive and respectful learning and understanding of one another, we seem to have developed what I consider to be a genuine friendship. As I am only 24 years of age, W has a great deal more experiences to share with me of her 80 odd years and I enjoy listening to her anecdotes as well as contemplating her reflections on the present. I was certainly nervous before the move, and I imagine W was not without her own concerns too. She is a remarkable lady to whom I feel an immense gratitude for inviting me into her home, welcoming me into her family, and trusting me in her space. In return I try my best to be proactive, helpful, and compassionate – to enhance her life and home as she and her home have enhanced mine. I would recommend everyone to consider Homeshare as an alternative way of living; I believe it is an opportunity that really does have the potential to transform lives.

Eleanor Minney

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire/our-services/homeshareoxford/

For further information email homeshare@ageukoxfordshire.org.uk or telephone 01865 410 670

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