Did you know that of the roughly 18,000 British citizens living in the Algarve, more than 8,000 are 65 and older1? While these numbers are from 2019, we know that since the Brexit referendum there has been an increase of 111% in applications for Portuguese residency from British citizens2, so this number is likely to be considerably higher by now.
Portugal is the European country with the 3rd highest percentage of elderly people3 and the one which least invests in them4. We have more than a half million elders living alone or isolated5, and while much has been said about the need to change the way we deal with an ageing population, the options and policies have remained unchanged over the past 50 years. It’s unsurprising so many elderly people are depressed, leading them to have the highest suicide risk6 among the different age groups.
It’s within and because of this context that Lar no Lar is born. An intergenerational homesharing program launched in Lagos, it follows the guidelines of Homeshare International, a UK based non-profit which supports these projects worldwide.
Our aim is to reduce social isolation in elderly people using a resource many already have: an empty bedroom at home. The idea can be easily explained in 6 steps:
Lar no Lar intends to be a preventive choice to contribute towards older people staying active, independent, and autonomous for longer, delaying the need for social support or institutionalisation. When sharing a living space with someone younger, besides earning a new friend, the elderly person can become both a mentor and student – with the added advantage of having someone help them with the language and culture when living in an adopted country.
Lar no Lar is working with the Universidade do Algarve and their Social Education and Social Sciences programs as we hope to become a natural affordable housing option for university students.
Sources: 1SEF.pt | 2expresso.pt | 3pordata.pt | 4OMS Comissão de Proteção ao Idoso | 5pordata.pt | 6medis.med.up.pt |