Man, 27, moves in with widowed pensioner, 89, to beat high rents and cost of living woes

An artist who was struggling to afford high London rents amid the cost of living crisis has moved in with a widowed pensioner as a way of saving a bit of money.

Liam, who is originally from Grimsby, was struggling to find anywhere affordable to live in the capital last year.

But after discovering a scheme which pairs up young professionals with lonely older people living in London, the 27-year-old has found a new friend in his live-in landlord Pat Johnson, who is 89.

The pair enjoy nights in together watching portrait artist of the year – and Liam helps to look after Pat’s Dachshund, Tank, as well as helping around the house with any technological problems she encounters.

Pat, an enameller who moved to Brixton from Chicago in America, decided to get involved with the share my home service after her husband passed away.

She found Liam and after a successful trial period they have settled in well together.

The pair enjoy each others’ company and often take the dog out for walks. Tank absolutely loves Liam, and Pat enjoys having him around and appreciates his help with everyday problems.

The two make sure to give each other enough space and be conscious of one another’s needs.

Liam said: “I was a bit sceptical at first, but my sister recommended the scheme to me as she had a great experience with it.

“Pat has shown me around the local area whilst we walk her dog Tank and we have explored the commons together, including places in Battersea that I would’ve never thought to have gone to before.

“We occasionally cook for one another. I have cooked Pat some teriyaki salmon which she enjoyed, we have also shared a pizza together when her daughter came round.

“I need to be down in London for my art, and with the current cost of living it’s been essentially impossible to find somewhere to live, so this has been a massive saviour.”

“Since moving in together, all three of us – Pat, Tank and myself – get on very well. Pat also has an interest in art so we have been able to relate on that level and Tank is a pleasure to be around.

“My sister actually gave me the idea and she’s used share my home before and loved it, I needed to be down in London for my art so I thought let’s just go for it, and that’s how I met Pat.

“Age wasn’t really a problem for me – I was never really bothered about the age difference, we often go for walks with the dog and have a sit down if there’s a programme we both like on the TV.

“Sky Arts is an absolute go to for the pair of us, we loved the portrait artist of the year programme, we don’t really venture to much else other than the art programmes.

“When the TV isn’t on Tank is the star of the show he loves the fuss and it’s fun playing with him.

“It’s definitely helped me settle in to the area and I was able to explore a lot of London without being on my own, it’s great having Pat as a friend and a housemate and I like to think that I’ve been helpful to her as well.”

Pat has equally enjoyed her experience with Share My Home, believing that they are both considerate of each others’ space, which enables them to get on so well.

Pat said: “He’s very handy around the house, he fixes things and helps me sort any problems, he also takes a lot of pressure off me with the dog as he can look after Tank whilst I’m away.

“Liam always helps out with the technology side of things any problems with the internet or the TV then Liam is on the case.

“It’s made me so much happier having Liam around but we always make sure to give each other enough space and privacy, I’d say that’s the number one thing when taking part in the share my home scheme, be wary of one another’s feelings.”

Share My Home has a lot of great reviews and seems to be pretty popular. Jennifer Perch, an Occupational Therapist from Share My Home helps bring house sharers together and conducts trials to see whether they would be a good fit.

Jennifer said: “Share my Home is a social enterprise which brings together retired people with a spare room with local vetted individuals, who are seeking affordable housing and are interested in supporting an older person live well at home.

“The younger person provides 10-15 hours of weekly housework as well as regular companionship and overnight presence in the home.

“Our robust compliance means our companions have professional references and enhanced police checks.”