Homes for the elderly in the Netherlands.

I've previously written about Hogeway, the Alzheimer's village in Weesp, Netherlands. Hogeway takes the concept of assisted living and makes it bigger. Instead of mimicking a home, they mimic an entire village. If you're not familiar with Hogeway, it's worth exploring.

The Humanitas home in Deventer, Netherlands is just as impressive.

University students and the elderly are co-habitating in a village designed for the elderly. The six university students enjoy free rent in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer time with 160 senior residents. While volunteering the students teach the residents about computers, complete shopping and keep the residents company–especially if a resident has fallen ill.

With the rising cost of secondary education and healthcare for the elderly, a model like this is genius. The elderly residents are able to benefit from the interaction with the students, while the students get the chance to learn what it's like to live in a multi-generational environment.

By offering each group intimate exposure to disparate populations you allow opportunities for innovative conversations. Perhaps a computer science major will consider the elderly when writing a computer program. Or a psychology major will be better able to relate to a caregiver who is feeling overwhelmed. Or a nursing or physical therapist student will be able to understand what it takes to navigate a home when you're not in tip top shape. 

For me, an environment like this would have been a great test for my patience and emotional intelligence at 20–and that would have been worth it. 

Read more about Humanitas: