Young adults are full of life, and elder residents are full of knowledge. Put them together and both will benefit!
A long, satisfying life deserves to be shared with others. Unfortunately, some elder residents end up spending the rest of their days alone in nursing homes rather than conversing with younger generations who could benefit from their wisdom.
But thanks to a brilliant non-profit organization called Humanitas, there is a solution to this concern that benefits everyone involved. The social service in the Netherlands has created a model that helps students with their living expenses and the elderly with the care and social interaction they need to thrive both physically and psychologically.
In exchange for 30 hours a month helping with the 160 residents that live at the retirement home in the Dutch town of Deventer, six students receive free lodging. But such is not like any job you might imagine… The college students clock their hours by happily partaking in a variety of activities, such as preparing meals, shopping with the residents, teaching them how to use computers, and even painting street art!
It’s an incredible set-up that really does help both parties involved.
“It’s important not to isolate the elderly from the outside world,” said Gea Sijpkes, head of the Humanitas retirement home. “When you’re 96 years old with a knee problem, well, the knee isn’t going to get any better, the doctor’s can’t do much.”
“But what we can do is create an environment where you forget about the painful knee,” stated Gea. And that is exactly what the organization has succeeded doing.
In fact, the program has inspired social organizations elsewhere in Europe to explore similar opportunities as well! Perhaps someday in the future such a set-up will be a logical alternative all university students worldwide might be able to partake in.
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