What if every long-term care and assisted living community had a few areas where students could live for free in exchange for an hour a day of volunteer work? Wouldn’t that create an interesting multi-age community? Well it’s been tried in The Netherlands, and it’s successful.
According to a story from the Australia Broadcast Company (ABC) an assisted living community in The Netherlands now sets aside six rooms for college students. The students live free in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer work each month. The students and the residents love it, though according to a student interviewed in the article, the main problem is that people they know die.
Gea Sijpkes, the head of Humanitis Deventer who developed the program, commented that the community residents have much more to talk about when they see the young residents every day.
If you visit the ABC website, you can also listen to a podcast.
Two Good Quotes
- Jurriën (one of the students) works 30 or so hours a month around the retirement home, arranging dinner at times but generally just spending time with elderly residents and ‘being a good neighbour’.
- Elderly people are full of life. As a student, you can learn a lot.