Nursing Homes Letting College Students Live Rent-Free For A Great Cause

This is a beautiful story.

In an effort to save on rent, some Dutch college students are living at nearby nursing homes. In exchange for 30 monthly volunteer hours, the students get free housing in vacant rooms.

It seems to be a win-win for everybody. Not only are the students living in better accommodations than student housing and not racking up as much student debt, but they’re providing a better quality of life for the eldest residents by socializing, helping them with tasks, and teaching them tech-savvy skills like using email, social media and Skype.

In an article from The Atlantic, Gea Sijpkes, director and CEO of Humanitas states why they’ve partnered with local universities,

“If they could get a room in Humanitas, they wouldn’t have to borrow so much money for their study…At the same time, I have some young people in the house, which makes Humanitas the warmest and nicest home in which everybody who needs care would want to live.”

This helps solve multiple challenges nursing homes face: keeping costs reasonable and providing an engaging lifestyle that’s as close to that as the outside world. With students coming and going, they have stories to tell and experiences to share.

“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth in the contact,” Sijpkes told Scary Mommy.

And this new trend seems to be catching on at other assisted living facilities across the globe. A few additional facilities in the Netherlands have opened their doors to this new living arrangement.

One in Lyon, France and the Judson Manor in Cleveland, OH support this “intergenerational lifestyle.”

At The Judson Manor, they call it an artist-in-residence program. Students from the Cleveland Institute of Music receive free housing in exchange for performing for the Judson Manor residents. What’s probably the most touching parts? Residents, both young and old, often play together.

And the trend of seniors interacting with college students is growing in more ways. University Based Retirement Communities (UBRCs) are popping up all over the country. According to PBS, These retirement communities have formal relationships with a University and often are in close proximity to the school.

Within a UBRC, seniors have the ability to continue learning and stay active by attending lectures and classes on campus as well as fitness classes at the gym. Coined in 2006 by Andrew Carle of George Mason University, it is estimated that there are approximately 100 UBRCs around the country.

Photo by JSmith Photo