Unlikely housemates — seniors and young adults — to be paired up in pilot project

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Young adults will be paired with seniors for intergenerational living under a pilot program being launched in Fredericton

The young adults will be given free living in exchange for various supports for the seniors.

The Ville, the community centre in charge of the program, says it is hoping to match 20 seniors with 20 young people says program manager Casey Gaunce.

"The concept we're hoping for is this living arrangement provides an opportunity for young adults to have affordable, and we're hoping it gives [the older adults] the opportunity to remain in their home and be independent but also reduce social isolation," Gaunce told Information Morning Fredericton.

People who'd like to participate in iGenNB can fill out an online application form or call the Ville. Applicants will have to submit a criminal record check and a vulnerable sector check.

There is a system to match applicants based on personality, style of living and what they look to get out of the arrangement, Gaunce said.

After that the applicants can attend a meet and greet with the most suitable matches and decide who they think they'd be most compatible with.

"From there, we schedule two more meetings, where they decide if they feel it would be a good match to live together."

The senior has to be willing to share their home and have a spare bedroom. All the other expectations are based on what the young adult is looking for.

"We're looking for older adults who have wi-fi and who are willing to share their kitchen appliances and maybe some other areas of their home."

The young adult will be required to spend 12 hours a week doing different household duties such as yard work, running errands and providing companionship.

Similar programs take place around the world, including in Kingston, Ont.

The Ville has partnered with St. Thomas University, which will be doing the research to determine if this new living situation is improving the quality of life for seniors. STU will also be looking into whether it's a financially viable option for the province.

The pilot program is expected to be completed in October 2021 but extensions are possible.

"We've have a lot of interested parties, and so far we have some applications submitted so we're off to a good started," Gaunce said.