Friday, October 30, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Humanitas (Nursing Home/Dorm)

For most of us living in Western countries, gone are the days of multiple generations living in the same house, but that doesn't make a very compelling Feel Good Friday story. Here's what does... a nursing home in the Netherlands that gives college students free rooms in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer work per month!

I learned about Humanitas by reading this Daily Good article. The arrangement was inspired by the  combination of a student housing shortage and a decision to stop funding continuing care for citizens over 80 not in dire need. The result was less older people being able to afford nursing homes and rooms going vacant - enter the students.

Always on the lookout to save money, these students are able to live in the nursing home rent free by interacting with their neighbors. Some of their volunteer hours are spent teaching the elderly residents how to email, Skype and use social media. Not only does this keep the residents engaged by learning new skills, but they also gain the tools needed to communicate with their families. The model has gained in popularity and now there are two additional nursing home/dorm combos in the Netherlands, one in Lyon, France and one in Cleveland, Ohio!

If the program continues to be successful, I hope the students will help the residents set up Facebook and Twitter accounts. For now if you want to follow what they're doing, your best bet is a plane ticket. :)

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