In March 2015 I wrote Elders and Students Living Together: A Novel Housing Idea, describing how a Humanitas Deventer elder community, in the Netherlands, implemented the concept of “woonstudent,” by designating four apartments for students to live in at no cost. The only requirement? Resident students are expected to volunteer with their older resident neighbors, and together the two groups create an amazing intergenerational community.
A May 2015 New York Times article, In Cleveland, Young and Old Keep Tempo of Life, highlights another intergenerational community program, this one in Cleveland, Ohio. The Judson Manor elder community designated three apartments for students at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), offering free housing for as long as each student attends the Institute and expecting each student to perform at least once a month. Read what the description of the program on the Judson Manor blog. What began as an experiment has been a huge success and you can read the a piece about the students at the CIM website.. The students feel they have learned a lot as do the elders. (See a CBS News video below.)
That these intergenerational experiments are successful is no surprise, and we need more communities to try to set up these.
Best Quote from the Article
The students were required to submit a résumé and an essay. “Basically, ‘Why I wouldn’t mind living in a senior residence,’” says Mr. Gardner, a committee member, who admits he was skeptical at first. But now, five years and seven students later, including the three currently in residence, he has been won over. “It has far exceeded any of our expectations,” he admits. “It’s hard to overestimate what it’s done for the culture here.”
Click on the image to watch a video from CBS News.