A Dutch Nursing Home Has A Genius Plan To Help The Elderly By Giving Students Free Housing

Apr 12, 2015

Humanitas is one of the Netherlands' main social services organizations and is a nonprofit association which seeks to provide support to people who are temporarily unable to manage on their own, and one of their major areas of focus is elder care. Social isolation and loneliness is a chronic problem for the elderly, but a Humanitas nursing home in Deventer, Netherlands is now taking a unique approach to solve that.

The home is offering free housing to local students, and in exchange the students agree to spend a minimum of 30 hours per month interacting with the 160 seniors living there. This can be anything from helping with meal prep, shopping trips, teaching them to use computers, playing games and much more.

Students get to live in a basic apartment for free in exchange for spending time with the elders at the retirement home.

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They agree to spend at least 30 hours a month with the seniors, doing anything from shopping or teaching them about computers to simply sitting and talking.

"It’s important not to isolate the elderly from the outside world," says Humanitas Deventer CEO Gea Sijpkes.

With some residents in their 90s, there's not much Humanitas can do about the aches and pains of aging...

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But they can at least create an environment that helps the seniors to forget about those pains, if only momentarily.

The idea really is brilliant. It can be near impossible to find a decent place to live on a student budget, so it is a great solution for young people as well as a great way to help the seniors still feel relevant and social. Working with the elderly also teaches young people valuable lessons on compassion and the value of caring. This idea is already gaining popularity throughout Europe, so hopefully it comes to the U.S. soon.

Credit: Bored Panda

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