In Deventer, The Netherlands, university students pay no rent in exchange for spending 30 hours of quality time a month with their 160 older housemates. Humanitas retirement home has been experimenting with resolving the issue of preventing isolation and loneliness and finding ways to utilize all of their available space.
Humanitas, a member of Actiz and EAHSA, has for a long time been at the fore-front of innovation. Both older and younger residents are delighted with the arrangement. Strong bonds have formed. A similar model exists in Lyons, France and Cleveland, Ohio at Judson Retirement Communities.
Experimenting with intergenerational living has been happening for many years around the world.
Barcelona City Council, Obra Social De Caixa Catalunya and the Universities of Barcelona, Pomeu Fabra and Ramon Llull got together to test the idea of housing their students in the homes of older people. This was started in 1996-1997 with around 20 older people and has grown to a ‘fully consolidated programme across Spain, operating in 27 cities in seven autonomous Communities…’ (extract from the book).
Still in other countries, independent older adults rent out a spare room to younger renters at discount rates to save on housing cost.
In a number of communities, senior housing is integrated into new apartment developments and shopping centres. The hope is that the surrounding environment facilitates the engagement of the elderly in the greater community and vice versa.