An innovative answer to the loneliness and confusion of living on her own with dementia enabled Jane to enjoy stimulating company and a new friendship while sharing her love of music. A home sharing scheme meant that she could stay in her own home for longer with an improved quality of life, as well as bringing peace of mind to her family.
Jane was ‘matched’ with Juliet, a teacher, by Share and Care Homeshare – a pairing that her daughter described as ‘serendipity’.
Due to the progression of her Alzheimer’s condition, Jane’s life had become more limited and increasingly isolated, especially when she had to stop driving. She struggled to remember appointments and was finding everyday tasks such as shopping and laundry difficult.
Her daughter recollects: “We felt that having a sharer would make such a positive difference to Mum and to us; with someone living with her, she wouldn’t feel so isolated and lonely.”
Juliet said: “On meeting Jane, I thought, ‘this will work’. Yes, she had Alzheimer’s, but she is a lovely person who has had a wonderful life and we got on well.”
Juliet quickly became part of the household and took over the running of the home and Jane’s diary. Her family were reassured by the way the two women built up a relationship. The number of hours of expensive care that Jane had previously been paying for prior to sharing, was reduced as a result of Juliet moving in, because Juliet could give the practical help and company.
Jane’s daughter said: “Juliet played the recorder and she and Mum were able to share music together. She was also very proactive and would take Mum out to local museums and cafés. They would share meals, and if I was there too, we would take turns to cook and chat about our lives.”
Their mutual love of music was an important factor in the relationship. “Share and Care picked up on our shared interest; it is important to have something that connects people. If Jane was anxious, I could change the whole atmosphere by putting on music,” said Juliet.
“Homesharing was a huge learning curve for me and there were challenges along the way but I got a lot out of sharing with her; I became very close to Jane and her family. She may have been living with Alzheimer’s, but she was still very intuitive and loving.”
Case study dates from 2019.