Humanitas Residential Care Centre, gives free accommodation to students, in exchange for 30 hours of voluntary work in the home every week.
A nursing home in the Netherlands is offering university students rent-free accommodation, in return for their daily interaction with their elderly co-inhabitants. Alongside their residents, Humanitas Residential and Care Centre in Deventer provides free accommodation to six students, in exchange for 30 hours of voluntary work in the home every week.
The arrangement is mutually beneficial, assisting money-poor young people who would struggle to afford the increasing student rent, as well as improving the quality of life for elderly residents. However, the most successful student residents were those who didn’t see their participation as a mere “transactional arrangement” but saw the value it had for their own growth and development. Isolation and loneliness has been linked to mental decline and increased mortality, and while most care homes encourage visiting volunteers, the arrangement at Humanitas has a much more significant effect on those living there, since the neighbours are able to forge meaningful relationships. Students earn their keep by teaching residents how to email and use social media, as well as assisting staff and spending time with the elderly residents.