The retirement home in the Dutch town of Deventer decided to give students free accommodation. In return, the students should at least spend 30 hours with the 160 elderly residents living there. They should be of help to them, talking and having fun together.
There is a relationship between the youths and the elderly which many can’t see due to the gap in the age difference, and if it doesn’t exist then there is nothing constructive.
Similarly Judson Manor has also set aside a program for students having debts in consideration of offering their assistance to the elderly population. It was launched in 2010 with only two students.
Generally the program allows the student to enjoy the unconditional service in exchange of less than their income. Hence the elderly living there tend to enjoy much more of company of the students since they contribute in their own unique way.
With the Smithsonian, some of the music students studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music are given accommodation in exchange of playing solo recitals and having concerts for the elderly guests. The most important thing is that they get to spend time together to develop meaningful relations with them.
Research conducted shows that the elderly tend to enjoy themselves when spending time with the youths. There are several experiments carried to prove that. For example, a biologist Chun-Fang Wu and a graduate student, Hongyu Ruan carried an experiment to verify the same with fruit flies where the older ones with a mutation in Sod1 doubled when they were left to live with the younger ones.
There is a big difference between people and fruit flies but it is known that spending time with the younger ones extends one’s life while improving its quality. There are several programs conducted to verify the sod1 patients. When the elderly get to be with the youths they tend to reduce depression, relieve boredom and improve their health.
Another program in Deventer, Netherlands, realizes this and requires students to dedicate 30 hours a month to their elderly counterparts.