When I was attending college, we had the option of doing a nursing internship between our junior and senior year. Two of my classmates and I arranged for an internship at a small hospital in northern Minnesota.
Since we were going to be there for only 8 weeks, we knew it would be challenging to find a place to live for such a short period of time. So when the director of nursing asked how we felt about the idea of staying at the nursing home adjoining the hospital, we gave it some consideration.
I’ll admit I had misgivings about living in the nursing home. Will we have much privacy? What will it be like to take our showers in the facility bathing room down the hall? Will the noises of the night shift disturb our sleep? If we eat our meals there will the food be any good?
In the end, the hospital arranged for us to stay in the downstairs apartment at the home of a very nice lady who lived just a few blocks from the hospital. We never did move into the nursing home.
Because of this experience, a couple of recent news stories caught my attention. One is about the Humanitas Retirement Home in Deventer, Netherlands. Here college students live rent-free in exchange for volunteering 30 hours a month to help the residents.
Closer to home, you’ll find a program at Judson Manor in Ohio that partners with the Cleveland Institute of Music. Students pay no rent in exchange for performing for (or with) the residents of the nursing home. Check out this article for more details on both programs. Similar programs exist in France and Spain.
So, how do you feel about the concept of living in a nursing home as a student? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
Since writing this post, I’ve become aware of a similar program in Helsinki where young people and elders live together. Check out Kristie Brewer’s fascinating article on A Home That Fits.