In a novel initiative commenced in 2012 university students in Holland have been offered free rent in exchange for their time spent with residents in a local Humanitas aged care facility.
Under the initiative students sign a volunteer agreement which commits them to 30 hours a month spending time with residents and teaching new skills.
Through the relationships and the familiarity bred from cohabiting comes reduced social isolation and inter-generational support. The Humanitas experience finds this particularly valuable for residents experiencing mental decline or dementia.
Funding for the ongoing care needs of people over the age of 80 has recently been reduced by the Dutch government. Offering accommodation to students helped Humanitas to continue to offer long-term care to older residents without increasing their operating costs.
Since 2012 several other residential aged care services in Holland and the US have commenced similar initiatives.
Pic: Student with a neighbour, taken from The Nursing Home That’s Also a Dorm (credit Tiffany R Jansen, CityLab)