On his return to England from the US, retired engineer, Allan, decided to settle down in picturesque Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire. Unfortunately, soon after he arrived, he was widowed, and now splits his time between gardening and travel. At 80, he is no less active than he ever was.
“I’m actually away a lot as I enjoy travelling, and why not? You’ve got to make the most of the time you have left!” For the times he was at home, however, he felt less comfortable.
“When I was here it was often very quiet. I wanted to get a lodger to make a little income, but I wanted someone I’d get along with for company as well.”
Initially, Allan was unsure how to find someone. He did not want to use a homeshare agency as he was not ‘elderly’ and wanted to do his own selecting rather than pay a large registration fee for it. On the other hand, room rental sites did not take into account compatibility.
Then he read about Hapipod. The homeshare matching site enabled him to search for someone based on personality and interests. Furthermore, the living arrangement involved the lodger giving 8 hours of their time per week to pre-agreed activities in return for reduced room fees of £250 pcm. This meant he could get an income, company and practical help.
“I don’t need help at home as such. I’m very independent. But I developed my garden during Covid, and I knew that finding some expert gardening help would be extremely useful.”
Having interviewed several candidates of different ages, Allan found Grace, a softly spoken 27 year old landscape gardener from London. She was looking to relocate for a landscaping job in the area.
“It was a fantastic career opportunity, but I knew that to relocate, I would have struggled to do it and also pay full rent somewhere. So this arrangement really gave me the freedom to develop my career.”
Grace agreed to help Allan with the gardening and house-sit during his frequent travels. With their natural rapport, they also find themselves meeting at the kitchen table for a chat at the end of most days. The age gap is something both see as an advantage.
“I think socialising with someone who’s outside of your conventional circle and breaking down boundaries is great. Allan’s got so many stories to tell, and ideas to share” says Grace, and Allan agrees.
“We have enough in common that there’s always plenty to talk about, and it’s been useful for both of us just to have someone of a different generation to talk to with a different perspective on things.”
For Grace, the spacious room was also a major upgrade from her previous accommodation.
“There were four of us living in a crowded two bed flat in London and it was hectic and expensive. I was looking for something more affordable and peaceful, so this was perfect.”
Most importantly, they do not have to compromise their privacy because each has their own space to relax in. Put simply, they have each helped improve each other’s lives. As Allan explains,
“You get a little bit of income and a lot of help and companionship in this arrangement. The three go together instead of just having a room that you let out and have someone coming and going. It’s worked very well.”
For Grace, the whole arrangement has been a lifeline.
“Everyone’s struggling at the moment. It’s a hellish rental market. With the cost of living crisis, there’s just all these financial pressures. And having the option to have more affordable living and also a really beneficial social interaction with someone, I think it’s great, and can make a lot of people’s lives a lot happier.”
Visit Hapipod.com for more information. As a low-fee site it is FREE to register, create a profile and see who is available. After that it is ordinarily £20 to pass a one-off ID check, and there are different length access packages to connect with other homesharers, starting at £45 for 1 month. But in a special promotion, the next 100 people to pass a FREE ID check get 1 year FREE access.
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