Thanks to an innovative program launched this month, Franklin County seniors have a new way to combat loneliness, age in place, make a little side money, and receive help with small jobs around the house.
The program is called Nesterly Central Ohio, and it’s a partnership between Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, Nesterly, Age Friendly Columbus, and Franklin County.
Nesterly Central Ohio is an intergenerational homesharing program that connects homeowners (hosts) who have spare rooms to rent with people (guests) who need a place to stay for one month or more.
Guests may be community members, graduate students, or young professionals who are looking for housing, a way to give back to the community, and who want to connect with another generation.
Hosts may be retired couples, empty-nesters, or widows/widowers who have the space to spare, and are willing to offer affordable rent in exchange for the company and help with small jobs around the house.
The program was first successfully launched in Boston in 2017, and Columbus is the first expansion city. It was founded by Noelle Marcus at MIT, and alleviates two major challenges: housing affordability and aging in place.
Many seniors want to age right where they live, despite not necessarily needing all the space they have, and possibly not being able to keep up with the care of it. This leaves most of them house-rich and cash-poor.
And seniors get lonely. Once their kids have left the nest, and/or spouses or significant others pass away, what was once a busy, lively household suddenly becomes very quiet. Loneliness typically sets in, which can lead to anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, cardiovascular problems, and even death. Our former Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, says loneliness is an epidemic, and it’s as devastating to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Nesterly Central Ohio seems to be a great answer to many of these typical problems in the aging population. Seniors make extra money from the rent and enjoy the company of a younger person. They even can negotiate receiving help with small jobs around the house, such as taking out the trash, shoveling snow or even receiving “tech support” for cable or internet issues—something that is second nature to a younger generation but completely overwhelming to the older. Guests enjoy the benefits of a lower rent payment, an intergenerational friendship and knowing they are helping someone.
Nesterly Central Ohio takes care of all of the behind-the-scenes administrative functions as well, such as legal and customizable rental agreements, comprehensive background checks, a secured automated payment system, and ongoing support.
If you are interested in learning more about the Central Ohio Nesterly program or would like to apply, I encourage you to visit their website for more information. As always, if you’d like to talk to us about our private advocacy services, and how GPS can help you or a loved one age in place with health care support, please contact us.