Joel Callen


Fri, 10 Apr, 2015

The nursing home where students live too – and rent-free

The nursing home where students live too – and rent-free

A nursing home in the Netherlands has some residents pulling down their average age – six university students who live rent free in the complex alongside 160 senior residents. Just what’s going on there?

The Humanitas retirement home in Deventer offers rent-free accommodation for students in exchange for 30 hours each month of acting as “good neighbours”. Officials at the nursing home report that the students do a variety of activities with their older neighbours, including celebrating birthdays, watching sports, and offering company when they fall ill.

The program began two years ago when a student reached out to the Humanitas manager, complaining about the noise and poor conditions at student housing. A dialogue began, and the program was born.

The program helps curb feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness, which are linked to increased rates of mortality in older people. Students are allowed to come and go as they please so long as they’re not a nuisance to the other residents.

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