Like many countries, Malaysia is rapidly ageing. By 2040, the Malaysian government estimates that the population over 65 will increase from 5% in 2010 to over 14% of the population–a huge increase.
For other countries in the region, and indeed around the world, there are not enough resources to address the needs of this growing segment. Governments recognise the issue exists but are too strapped to do anything. Ageing is certainly not a “sexy” issue to tackle. There aren’t nearly enough elderly care providers and the resources aren’t available to build enough nursing homes, hospice facilities and hospitals. In fact, many seniors may not even need a nursing home, but need something than their own home. At the same time, more and more children need to work outside the home, or they move away to provide for their families. This leaves a gap in care for the elderly, and along with this, even suitable places to live.
Sharing homes can fix a variety of problems facing the elderly population:
Combatting loneliness. Evidence shows loneliness has a serious impact on our mental and physical health which can lead to greater reliance on health and social care services. It can also lead to an increase in illnesses, and some would suggest, can shorten one’s life.
Providing housing alternatives. Nursing homes or other types of “old age homes” aren’t necessary for all older people. Some people may just want to share time with others like them, while others may want to save on expenses or reduce the work they have to do around the home. It’s also a way of “downsizing” while maintaining some independence.
Being part of a community. As people age, and often as their friends and relatives die, senior citizens’ social networks begin to decline in number. Being part of a shared housing group offers an elderly person a renewed change to meet people and create new social circles as they age.
Helping keep older adults safe. It’s also better to have another person around the house. The saying goes that “there is safety in numbers” and this is the same for the elderly. Having other people around can help prevent both minor and major issues including leaving the stove on, falling when no one is around, and importantly an elderly person’s new friends will notice mood changes in the elderly person.
Letting the elderly “age in place.” Staying at home is the desire of most older adults, and home sharing can make this possible. For most of us, issues that seem minor are more important as one becomes older. For example, it’s a little harder to make repairs around the home as we get older. Running errands becomes more of a chore for olde people. With home sharing, there’s often someone around to help out.
Home sharing isn’t for everyone, however, we can all agree that the rise in life expectancy is a good thing, but the key now is to ensure that we’re living longer but also living well during our older years. Innovations such as home sharing can go a long way towards doing just that, and Eldershare hopes to be a trendsetter in this area.