Professor Heather Macdonald from the University of Technology Sydney said the instances of older Australians in co-living arrangements is on the rise, in response to the rising cost of housing in Australia’s capital cities.
The concept of co-living amongst older Australians isn’t new globally, with many foreign countries using it as a way to deal with an ageing population.
Countries such as Japan and Finland have used it as a way to cope with lack of government resources to fund caring for the elderly. In Finland, the system operates to benefit both parties: young people are offered cheap rent also.
“I think there is real potential for co-living when there is social basis for relationships. Interesting examples coming out of Scandinavia with elderly people, where co-living has become an alternative to the more commercialised assisted living. So co-living has some good potential there, with of course studies, and young adults have been doing it for ages with various degrees of success,” said Professor Macdonald.
Mark Steinert, managing director and CEO of Stocklands, added: “Co-living is really exciting; it is an area with customer demand. The biggest challenge as usual being planning; it’s very difficult to get approval for mixed use.”
The Australian government has initiated programs that have a share-housing basis. For example, there is the Better Together program, which helps single women over the age of 55 find shared accommodation. In NSW, icare gives foundation funding to help the elderly and disabled people find youth support in return for cheaper rent.