Would older people who own their own home, and have extra space, consider sharing it with ‘a stranger’?
ECH (Enabling Confidence at Home) laid down the challenge to consider alternative models of housing for older Australians, to understand what housing options could help older people to enjoy more of their lives. Starting with the person at the centre, encompassing health and social wellbeing, connection to the community, and space in the home to spare – we chose to explore home sharing.
With the older person at the heart of the project, we explored the elements that people would like to see in a home share model. How might such an arrangement work? Would they prefer to share with someone their own age and gender? Would they rather receive an amount of money in rent, or services that help around the house? Would they be willing to pay to join a Home Share scheme?
The project highlighted a range of issues, that related not only to the desire to share a home or not. Societal norms and safety issues were raised and challenged, including the meaning of home and does that change when sharing; and what safeguards need to be in place when sharing. Financial challenges were raised, including the reducing number of older people owning a home which would be suitable for sharing, and the rising number of older people – particularly women – in the private rental market.
We discovered a greater interest in co-housing, an approach to living that seeks to enhance community connectedness and reduce social isolation; but that focuses more on sharing living spaces, while recognising that every household wants privacy and security. Co-housing comprises a mix of private and shared spaces (e.g. gardens, communal lounges and a large communal kitchen) with each household having their own self-contained dwelling but sharing spaces to come together.
This presentation will discuss the findings from our project, interest in home sharing; and more importantly, what happens when you work with people to explore what they want and need. The presentation will touch on how the co-design process will help shape ECH’s future consumer engagement work, specifically our considerations of alternative housing arrangements for people as they age.

Day 2, 12:00pm – 12:30pm – Sharing your home:  lessons from a co-design project.

Dr Victoria Cornell is a Research and Evaluation Manager at ECH, one of the largest providers of independent living and aged care services in South Australia; and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.  These roles, straddling academic and service-based research and development, giver her a unique insight into translating research to action.
As a social gerontologist, Victoria’s areas of research interest include aged care provision, community connectedness, the built environment and housing – especially alternative models of housing, and housing for vulnerable older people.  Victoria’s research and engagement in the area of social gerontology has been recognised in journal article publications, conference presentations and media interviews.  Victoria is a member of the Australian Association of Gerontoloty (AAG), sits on the Committee of the SA Division of the AAG and is the Convenor of the AAG’s Housing and the Built Environment special interest group.