It Takes a Village: Elders Homes Offer Cheap Rent

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. 

Pic Source: Scopio. Artist:Elena Pasenko

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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6 thoughts on “It Takes a Village: Elders Homes Offer Cheap Rent”

  1. What a wonderful idea! It might be a bit of a shock for some young people who have grown up in a world where the different ages are so separated, but oh my goodness, what a great way to re-develop a sense of true community that our society is lacking more and more. (And some older folks might be a bit shocked to (re)discover how much energy–and noise–young people have.) In my opinion, we really need more inter-age activity right from early childhood. Our society’s transience (young families often far away from grandparents, etc.) and structure of separating the ages (so much institutionalization of both the aged, the very young in day-care situations, children and youth in schools, and parents stuck in long hours of work so they themselves have little time with their own children) is really destructive of what should be a natural sense of community with a regular mixture of ages. Good post! (And 10 hours a month is totally acceptable; as young people spend time in these situations, they might find themselves building such powerful friendships that they might just naturally want to spend more time than that). (Assuming they have enough time after school work, jobs if they have to do them to afford schooling though the low rent would really help their budget). (And face-to-face time with the seniors would provide so much better relationship-building that spending untold hours filling in time gaps with social media, video games, TV bingeing etc.).

    1. Yes! I agree with everything you just said. I think this is such an awesome idea. It was in Kelowna that I saw the article and it was only two young men, but a great start. My mom would’ve really benefited from having another person in the house as she aged. I hope there’s more initiative taken to get this off the ground in a serious way. I believe, if the background of individuals and proper vetting takes place, that it really could be a win win. Thanks for commenting Norma. So appreciated.

    1. You’re very welcome. I’d love to see this become a norm in school towns. Not everyone is into fraternities or even living on campus. Could be a win- win.

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