With the population aging across the globe, social isolation is increasingly affecting elder populations. One solution for the senior care industry is to house young students and workers in exchange for participating in the community.
Various forms of long-term senior care have begun to work with a younger clientele to provide senior citizens with youthful community members.
In Deventer, the Netherlands, a nursing home has housed students for free, and in exchange the students participate in 30 hours a month of community activities. Humanitas is designed to include senior citizens in a tighter-knit community and provide cash-strapped students with a unique living opportunity.
Humanitas’s CEO claims they were the first facility to trial the intergenerational living set-up, and it has worked for six years so far. Other similarly designed programs are cropping up in Europe and the United States.
Both young and old, many people have also been hit by an increasing cost of living and housing prices. Some seniors have turned to renting their spare room to a younger person in search of more affordable housing.
The New York Times profiled Shazzi Felstein, a New Yorker who opted to rent her room out to a 23-year-old rather than move in with older family members.
As baby boomers enter their later years, more senior citizens are valuing their independence out of necessity or preference. But, this can lead to increasing social isolation and depression. Elderly happiness has been linked to lower mortality rates and boosting mental health in the senior population is growing in importance.
By staying with younger housemates senior citizens can be surrounded with a more youthful and active community. A tighter community can begin to boost happiness and ward of social isolation.
In the end, it is a win-win for both sides as seniors see more company, and younger folk receive discounted housing and an opportunity to interact with wisdom they may not encounter in their day-to-day life.
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