Humanitas Retirement Home in the Netherlands allows college students to live rent-free as part of a program aimed at suppressing the negative side effects of aging. In exchange for their own apartments, students are required to spend at least 30 hours per month with the nursing home’s residents.
So far, six students from local universities in Amsterdam live among the 160 senior citizens at Humanitas. The students volunteer their time by teaching computer classes and preparing meals, while also engaging in conversations and attending birthday parties. They are allowed to come and go as they please, as long as they do not disturb the senior citizens.
Studies have shown that seniors who are surrounded by others live longer and healthier lives. Social interactions also help to ward off the loneliness and isolation the elderly may feel while living in a nursing home. According to Humanitas CEO Gea Sijpkes, “The students bring the outside world in.”