I recently read an article where university students in their early 20’s were invited to rent an apartment at a retirement villa near the campus.
The rent was $500 a month and the new renters would have to do 10 hours of volunteer work per month at the home (or maybe it was 10 per week–is that a lot?). This included things like taking residents for walks, looking through photo albums, or setting up their favourite channels on their TV.
Relationships quickly formed. Many of the seniors, who suffer from loneliness and boredom, appreciate having the young people around.
I love, love, love this idea.
I’d also love to see a program where University/College students could do the same in a private home of an elderly person.
There are many elderly people living alone who could benefit from a similar living arrangement. Small tasks or light housekeeping in return for low cost student housing.
When my mom still lived in the family house, she was alone and unable to preform some simple tasks like changing a lightbulb or cutting the grass. Having someone who lived with her with the agreement to do certain chores for a cut in rent would have been so lovely for her.
Some young people are afraid of the elderly… the apparent helplessness, impending death, and clinginess especially toward young people. The idea of “old” has changed though. People are staying in their homes longer as their health is better, but being alone is not always the answer.
The solution to high rents and non-availability of student housing may be as easy as organizing and monitoring of home sharing amongst the ages. It would be a lot of trial and error I’m sure as you’d want to make sure the right people are in the right places.
What do you think of this idea? Why isn’t it more widespread? Tell me your thoughts.
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