Helpful Housemates:  a host’s story

“Having a lodger & knowing that there’s a friendly person around gives the house a nice warm feeling.”

Helpful Housemates is the best possible arrangement for host Anthea, who is in her 80s, is fully independent, and enjoys her own space along with the comfort of having another person around.  Anthea and her lodger hit it off from the start, sharing a common interest and love of art.  The Helpful Housemates arrangement has been an invaluable choice for host and lodger; a perfect solution for both.

“Over the years, I have often had lodgers in my home, so I have always been used to a house full of people.

I first approached Share and Care Homeshare to discuss homeshare, and they were very nice.  We decided that homeshare wasn’t quite right for me at a time when my husband was very ill and needed care.  Sadly, my husband died, and my situation changed.  

I read an article in Saga magazine from a woman who had a lodger through Helpful Housemates, and it seemed like the perfect solution, it was spot on.  The woman in the article was a bit like me – she wanted to live independently and didn’t need any physical support to do so!

I am terribly lucky with the lodger who Helpful Housemates put forward.  He’s very helpful and considerate.  Initially, when he came to visit, my children also wanted to meet him and we all instantly liked each.  He’s a lovely person, and he’s been lodging with me for about 3 months.

We both need our own space, and I don’t need much help, so our arrangement works very well; we have our independence, yet we are also good company for each other.  For instance, sometimes we eat meals together or drink cups of tea and a chat.  It suits both of us.  

My lodger is in his 30s and didn’t want to be living in a house share anymore, so living as a lodger and providing a helping hand now and again, means we are both benefitting.

He is very much part of the family.  My children really like him and sometimes we all have meals together.  My lodger is a mature student at the Royal College of Art and as my late husband taught design and was a lecturer, and I’m also a photographer, we have a strong connection, and share common ground.  

I live in a large Victorian house and my lodger is able to have an entire floor to himself; with his own bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and we share an office.  It suits him down to the ground!  As I’m another two floors below him, it can sometimes be difficult to communicate so we text each other!  I might send him a message asking if he would like a cup of tea, or whether he’s able to help me with something.  It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, and he’s really happy too.  

Helpful Housemates is the best possible arrangement for me, as the lodger also provides 5 hours of support a week, not that we ever count the hours!  He helps me with small tasks such as computer support which is wonderful, and he’s also going to assist me with printing my photographs.  If there is anything else that needs doing, he’s very willing, it’s a huge help.  Via the Helpful Housemates arrangement, I also receive a bit of help through the rent which helps with the current heating bills! 

We have formed a lovely friendship too and there are things that we would like to do together.  For instance in the Spring, we are hoping to visit Kenwood House in Hampstead to see its world-renowned collection of paintings by artists like Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner and Constable.  

I’ve told several of my friends, who are of a similar age, about Helpful Housemates and they’ve been very intrigued and interested.  He has also met several friends of mine and they all like him very much!   

Having a friendly lodger live in the home, via the Helpful Housemates initiative, gives the house a nice warm feeling.  I am very pleased.”