Homeshare scheme opens up a new world for Doreen

Homeshare is a national initiative that brings people who need support at home and have a spare room together with people who want an affordable place to live, and are happy to lend a hand around the house in return.

The scheme is now being rolled out by Milton Keynes Council so we take a look at the story of 78-year-old Doreen and Anouck from France, which shows that you are never too old to make new friends and enjoy a better life…

Doreen Fairclough was able to leave nursing care and get back to the home she loves thanks to a new scheme
which brings together people who would like a bit of support with those who need a place to live.

Doreen lived alone in a 2-bed ground floor flat, she had cared for family members all her life but since they had passed away she had no other relatives.

Unfortunately, it was then that Doreen had a fall in her bathroom and seriously injured her shoulder; she had surgery and was discharged from hospital to a nursing home.

Doreen missed her regular trips to the shops and to Morrisons – she was unable to do this as the care staff didn’t have time to accompany her – and this made her lose a lot of confidence.

That was when the Homeshare team were introduced to Doreen. They visited the nursing home to chat to Doreen and to tell her a little more about the initiative.

Doreen explained to them that before her fall she had not been eating properly and often only had half a tin of soup for her lunch, and the other half for her tea, which concerned them.

The Homeshare team explained to her that shopping and cooking could be part of the support provided by the Homesharer.

Doreen thought it was a great idea and that she would really enjoy sharing her home with someone else.

So the team set to work on finding her a Homesharer, and they were contacted by a young lady, Anouck, who
was hoping to come to the UK from Paris for a 12-month period to perfect her English.

Doreen was told all about Anouck and then introduced to her via Skype – Doreen had never spoken to someone
from another country before and found this very exciting!

The Homeshare team then completed all of their checks and made sure that both Doreen and Anouck fully
understood the scheme and exactly what was expected from both parties.

When Anouck arrived in the UK, Doreen was able to leave the nursing home and return to her flat, where she
had lived for 25 years.

Doreen revelled in her new lifestyle, and said at the time: “It’s lovely to finally be home in my comfy bed. I’m enjoying the food that Anouck makes me, I’m even eating French food and liking it.

“We loved going to Bingo and I had to explain to Anouck that 1 and 6 was 16.”

Once the time came for Anouck to return to Paris, Doreen’s Homeshare experience didn’t end there. Doreen accompanied the Homeshare team to Madrid and was a guest speaker at the Homeshare International Conference, again another first for Doreen who had never left the local area, let alone been on a plane or held a passport!

Doreen has since shared with Lucile, also from France and more recently a lady called Javeria. They are enjoying spending time together and regularly go to the market, and for meals out together.

Doreen loves the meals Javeria makes and is a real fan of curry. Doreen now has her confidence back and ventures out on her own again when the Homesharers are at work.

And this is all thanks to the help of Homeshare!

To register your interest in participating in the Homeshare MK scheme email sharedlivesmk@miltonkeynes.gov.uk or call 01908 258088 and leave a voicemail including your contact details. Homeshare MK will carefully vet, match and oversee each arrangement.

This feature was published in the July 2020 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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