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The Super Sweet Reason Why This Dutch Nursing Home Allows College Kids to Live There Rent-Free

College can be so expensive for many students that it can actually damper their independence and ability to get good jobs after school, even though it should provide the opposite.

A nursing home in The Netherlands created a program where college students are given an apartment rent-free (you read that right — free!) with the agreement that they will devote 30 hours a month to spending time with the elderly residents.

Onno Selbach, a student at Windesheim University, approached Humanitas of Deventer, Netherlands when he became frustrated with the noise and poor conditions of school housing, reports PBS News Hour. The program was launched in 2012, and they currently have six college students among about 160 seniors.

The 30 hours of volunteering can include anything from playing cards to eating meals together to simply chatting and learning about the incredible lives of these residents, both young and old.

“Me and the other students who live here, we each have one night a week when we invite people over and serve meals for them,” Selbach told IntoConnection.

“At first they were a little skeptical because when you bring in students, I think they have a bad reputation,” said Selbach. “But now the people who live here love us. We tell them stories about what we do and they tell us stories about what they did back in the day and it’s very interesting, and they seem to love us now.”

Above all else, the students must not be a nuisance to their elderly neighbors. And it’s not a difficult rule to follow, Humanitas head Gea Sijpkes joked, as most of the seniors are hard of hearing.

“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth in the contact,” Sijpkes told PBS News Hour.

Beyond that, they can also have fun and create friendships with the other residents … and it certainly beats paying the rent.

The arrangement seems to benefit everyone, and the idea is spreading. Similar homes are popping up in Cleveland, Ohio, Helsinki, Finland, and other cities.

Nursing homes are also benefiting from working with much younger generations, too. Across the country, preschools have been combining with senior care centers, and the effect on the residents is amazing.

I’m all for lowering the costs of living for students and helping out older generations at the same time. It’s seriously a win-win.

h/t: Scary Mommy

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