College students in a small Dutch town have been invited to live rent-free in a nursing home for senior citizens.
The students are given their own apartments in the facility and are only asked to spend at least 30 hours per week with the elderly residents, according to PBS NewsHour.
The program started after a student at a nearby school complained about housing conditions and worked with the nursing home to form the program, according to the report.
Six students live among the 160 seniors at the Humanitas nursing home, in the town of Deventer, a suburb of Amsterdam, a spokesperson told NewsHour.
They watch sports, join birthday celebrations and provide company to help them feel less lonely, according to the report.
“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth in the contact,” said the spokesperson.
As long as the college students do not disturb the elderly, there are no other rules for them to follow. They are otherwise free to come and go as they please.
Studies have shown seniors who are surrounded by others, especially younger people, live longer, healthier lives, according to a 2012 Fox News report.
The Dutch are not the only ones taking advantage of this type of program. Nursing homes in France, Spain and even Ohio have joined the cause, according to the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing.
With tuition plus room and board at private universities soaring past $US51,000 in some US cities, there’s a potentially good argument for more communities to consider similar programs.
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