Who we are?

HandOverHand (HOH) is a network with a focus on connecting students with seniors in the Greater Toronto Area for a mutually beneficial housing relationship and promoting inter-generational living between them. We are using a simple yet effective model which not only benefits the seniors' mental and emotional health, whilst providing companionship support and security for them, but it will also be good for students in terms of affordable housing. HOH aims to form the foundation for placing two different generations in the same living space and giving them a reason to interact.

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Our vision

In our society, the old and the young do not interact as much as they have historically. Our goal is to improve this interaction and be a movement to combat ageism.

We are expecting to offer a solution to students housing shortage as well as reduce social isolation and loneliness among seniors, which we believe are two major problems in our society.

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Student engagement in conversation and questions (within the boundaries of respectful discussion, of course), can contribute to an older adult’s reflection and mental, emotional, and social health. In exchange, this sharing of lessons learned is likely to be received well by students.

Older adults who have room would like to open their homes and want help with basic household tasks and companionship with a younger college student who has been already interviewed by HOH and passed the police background check can share their home for free or at a low rate with a younger adult looking for housing.

For elderly people who would like to continue to live with a good level of personal independence in their own home this exchange offers the homeowner security, companionship and help for an agreed amount of time each week.

Reciprocity is the key in these programs; college students who need housing and want to provide friendship, assistance, and a sense of security can have their needs met and give to seniors who want to provide housing.

A long-term outcome of this network would be to enhance community engagement and offer a better quality of life for both seniors and students in our society. We predict that HOH will have an economic, social, educational and well-being impact.

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Background

North America has become more compartmentalized over time. The suburbs are full of families with young children who move away when they become young adults; older adults that need health services are segregated in their communities and long-term care facilities. Inter-generational contact, the actual person-to-person contact, is crucial to combating ageism.

It facilitates a healthy awareness of the life process; isolation and segregation of age groups lose this appreciation of aging. Older adults may find that this direct contact described above compensates for the deaths of kinship ties and loved ones that occur in old age.

Within the past few years, inter-generational living programs between college students and senior housing residents have grown in number. There are variations of this model around the world; the total number of these programs is unknown as they vary in size and framework.

However, one major outcome of inter-generational living is the potential to combat ageism by bringing older and younger adults into a shared space and enabling valuable social interactions to occur.

As baby boomers and millennials alike face overwhelming housing costs, schools and community groups across the country have embraced various kinds of shared-living programs, such as a housing co-op in Winnipeg where women can grow old together and a retirement home in London, Ontario, that hosts Western University students.

More than half Ontario residents — and three-quarters of those over the age of 65 — live in houses that are bigger than they need, leaving five million spare bedrooms across the province, according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

Become Engaged

Seniors

We will assist our seniors to

hand-over-hand-bulletIdentify their expectations

hand-over-hand-bulletDefine their ideal student profile

hand-over-hand-bulletPrepare adequate living conditions for the student

hand-over-hand-bulletFinalize their application

hand-over-hand-bulletRegular follow-up to ensure that a harmonious cohabitation is achieved

hand-over-hand-bulletMake sure there is a healthy friendship/companionship between seniors and students

Students

For students, we will help them to:

hand-over-hand-bulletUnderstand seniors expectations

hand-over-hand-bulletIdentify their motivations in this program

hand-over-hand-bulletChoose the best option that matches their needs (low rent versus free rent in exchange of services)

hand-over-hand-bulletRegular follow-up to ensure that a harmonious cohabitation is achieved

hand-over-hand-bulletMake sure there is a healthy friendship/companionship between seniors and students

Volunteers

Volunteering with HOH will help with

hand-over-hand-bulletBetter time management

hand-over-hand-bulletOpportunities to meet new people

hand-over-hand-bulletSatisfaction from helped others and improved their well-being

hand-over-hand-bulletGaining a wealth of knowledge

hand-over-hand-bulletContribution in combating ageism

hand-over-hand-bulletA unique experience to empower your resume

Friendship and companionship outside of the normal caregiver relationships in a long-term care facility have the potential to be beneficial for both students and seniors.

If you are looking for a live in solution for an elderly parent this may be a suitable option, we are always happy to be contacted to discuss your needs.

NOTE: In order to ensure the security and safety of all our seniors, students and volunteers, a police background check is required prior to start date with HOH.

Step by step process for enagement

We carry out a tailored needs assessment. We identify the requirements of the elderly person and create a successful home share match. For our Seniors, Volunteers and Students, you are expecting the following steps before engaging:

STEP#1 Read and understand what HOH is about and what motivates you to engage with us.

STEP#2 Fill up and submit our contact form.

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STEP#3 You will be contacted for a face to face interview.

STEP#4 Based on information gathered from interviews, we will define the best match for you and advise you of the next step to get started.

STEP#5 In addition to the monthly follow-up with our seniors, six months after starting the program, we will ask our stakeholders, seniors, students, volunteers to provide us with any feedback and evaluation so that we can improve.

Clear guidelines in regards to house rules are put in place to meet the desires of the homeowner.

Contact

HOH could not realize its mission and vision without its passionate volunteers. Either you are a senior who would like to engage with our program or a student who would like to volunteer with us, we would love to connect with you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are a volunteer based network and our service is free of any charge.

5120 Yonge St, North York, ON

905-928-2646

info@handoverhand.net

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