Two Cork women, born decades apart, are the stars of tonight's episode of Tv series ‘OAP BnB’, the show which pairs elderly homeowners with young renters for a new living experiment.
Twenty-two-year-old Caoimhe MacCarthy, from a close-knit family on Bere Island, will move in with 70-year-old Anna Twomey, who lives alone in Douglas.
According to the producers, the show is about bringing together different generations with very different needs to see if their lives can complement each other in a way that will benefit them both.
“For the OAP, it’s a chance to combat the everyday loneliness of living in an empty house," producers say. "For the renter, it’s a chance to live rent-free, in return for their time and some chores.”
At the end of two weeks living together, the pair will decide if they want to move in together and make the living arrangement permanent.
“Both home-guest and home-host will experience each other’s worlds as millennials swap entitlement for allotments, carefree for curfew and screen time for mealtimes.”
For 70-year-old Anna, who is chairwoman of the local Women’s Institute, that means online dating profiles and nights out to BDSM and for 22-year-old Caoimhe, it means a new relationship involving plenty of nights in, watching crime documentaries accompanied by wine.
Speaking to The Echo, Caoimhe said she entered the series on a total whim: “My uncle saw a post and sent it to me and I just entered. I didn’t too much about it, then I went on an interview and then they got back to me.”
Caoimhe said she had a lot of empathy in relation to loneliness being experienced by older people and it was an issue that was close to her heart.
The 22-year-old, who has 13 tattoos, got a Celtic knot with colours picked by Anna inked on her right wrist.
It is to serve as a reminder of the unique experience and friendship she gained from spending time with the 70-year-old Douglas woman.
Discussing the two weeks she spent in the company of Mrs Twomey, Caoimhe said that as someone who can sometimes struggle with anxiety, she found that Anna helped her to come out of her shell.
“One night we met up with a group of seniors and they were so young at heart, they taught me not to be shy and to open up a bit," she explains. "I was very nervous and they were just so open and friendly, it made me realise that everything is ok and it’s good to just be yourself.”
Caoimhe said that she learned that, despite the 45 - 50 year age gap, you can still have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company.
OAP BnB airs on Virgin Media One tonight at 9.30pm.