Program pairs unlikely roommates

Jasmine Phu

December 28, 2011

As a caregiver, you can't forget about your own health!Aging in place alone can be a scary and sometimes lonely experience for seniors, however a new program in Calgary, Canada, aims to tackle such problems, the Calgary Herald reports.

The program, which was set up by the Calgary Seniors' Resource Society, pairs elderly people aging in place with students looking for affordable places to live while they continue their studies. Thus far, 38 seniors have opened their homes to both domestic students and students studying abroad.

For 71-year-old Mary Schroder, the students were a welcomed change to her relatively uneventful life. 

"I found I was lonely on my own now that my kids have grown up and moved away, but this brings back that sense of family and love that I missed," Schroeder told the publication. "I could hire a stranger to help, but instead I have someone to share the load with and it seems less like work."

Now, she gets help with chores and paying monthly bills from her two new roommates, Sarah Hickerty and foreign exchange student Hyo-Joo Jeon.

Although this program may help seniors feeling lonely, others enjoy the comfort of aging in place solo. Many are able to live independently as they age, however the risk of falling with no one around is real. Those worried about a loved one living alone may want to install a medical alert system in their homes. This way elderly people can remain in their houses, with the security of having help just a push of a button away.