Since starting Careseekers we have been approached by a number of clients looking to offer free rent in return for someone to live with their elderly parents. In theory this sounds like a great exchange, a person receives free accommodation and in return a worried son or daughter gets peace of mind knowing that there is someone in the house with their parents.
In practice, it misses an important piece of the picture - even if the carer has a 9am-5pm job outside of the home, there is an expectation that they sleep at this home every night, potentially even be home at night by a certain time, check on the person in the morning, limit their guests and probably alter the way they lead their life… it is a living arrangement with requirements, which is different proposition to a rent free flat-mate.
Having successfully facilitated this arrangement for a number of care seekers, here are our top tips:
1. Offer a weekly allowance in addition to free rent
In our experience, most carers who are willing to move in under these arrangements are already living rent-free with family or friends. A weekly allowance acknowledges that the person is making some pretty big changes to their daily life to help you or your family member. A generous weekly allowance is also a great way of making sure that once you have found the right person, they are willing to stay.
2. Be clear and upfront about what you are offering and what you expect in return
What are you offering? Free rent? Free bills? Free food? Is there a limit on the bills/food you are willing to pay?
Be very specific about the tasks you need the person moving in to do. Also be clear about what times of the day you expect them to be home. Anything over and above these tasks will require extra remuneration.
Be reasonable – sure the person is getting free rent but they are also helping you, and you need to make sure you give them the freedom to live their life and keep up their own schedule.
3. Write up an agreement
Include what you are offering and what the person moving in is required to do. It is also useful to set out what will happen if, and when, circumstances change and you no longer need the person to live in the house.
4. My house is your house…
Make the person’s set up as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Consider supplying fresh linen, a place to store clothing and other furniture such as an armchair. This is now the person’s home and they need to feel comfortable using any shared amenities. If possible, give the person a separate bathroom and ensure they have enough space away from the communal living areas. You may consider putting a television in their bedroom.
Finally… Is this the best option?
Consider how much help you need today, and in the future. A paid live-in carer may be a better way of ensuring the safety and security of your loved one.
If you would like to talk about live-in options with a Careseekers consultant please give us a call on 1300 765 465 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org