Aug 05, 2016 by Will Maule

This Care Home Offers Free Student Housing If They Spend 30 Hours Socializing With Older Residents

An extraordinary idea filled with compassion and love has been put into practice in the Dutch city of Deventer. 'Humanitas' is a care home for the elderly. But it is not like any other. Students can live for free there, as long as they agree to spend at least 30 hours a month socialising with the ageing residents. 

Humanitas has a vision to bring young people into the home in order to brighten the mood, to increase social contact with the residents, and offers them free rent in return. "I want it to be the warmest and most pleasant place in Deventer," says CEO of Humanitas, Gea Stjpkes

"What's quite funny is that there are quite a lot of old women living here and they sometimes like to flirt with a young guy," says Jordi Pronk, a 20-something resident at Humanitas. "You pass by and they whistle or wink at you. Or they give you a little slap on the behind. They love that." 

Stjpkes believes that the atmosphere is shifted when the young people are around. "I think that the students influence the whole tone of the conversation here, so it's not only about death, sickness and old age, but also about youth, about parties, about girlfriends," she says.

Another younger resident, Jurrien Mentink says it is not like any other care home he has seen in his life. "You would think an old people's home would be old and dusty, but I think it's just like a high school," he says. "Every table has a particular group that always sits there. There is the nerdy table there is the one for the pretty girl, then the football table with the tough guys." 

 Jurrien saw one of his neighbors pass away, and this inspired him to stick around and to seek to give the residents some fun and happiness before they pass. "In the end, when I was in her room, she suddenly gave me her hand. She was in bed and wished me a good life, to get the most out of it. She felt it was time to say goodbye," he says. She died shortly afterwards

"It's a nice feeling to help them find their final moments of happiness."

Watch the video below to find out more about this extraordinary place.

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