Rent free retirement living for young students in exchange for senior companionship and intergenerational mentorship. This is the solution Nipissing University nursing students Lori Sneddon and Kelley Nedza have outlined titled “The Intergenerational Living Model”.
Over the past months, Sneddon and Nedza have been completing a community placement project in collaboration with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health in Goderich, ON. Through the guidance of Gwen Devereaux R.N., they have had access to many of the area’s most notable senior resources such as Goderich Place, Harbour Hill Retirement Community, and the McKay Centre for Seniors. While touring these places, both students recognized the beneficial programming that is in place for older adults living in the Goderich area. They also noted the potential for other initiatives for our progressively aging population. Thus, drafting a Goderich intended intergenerational living model.
In a brief presentation given at Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health on March 27th, both Sneddon and Nedza outlined the benefits of the model. The model would initially consist of nursing students living amongst the retirement community, which could be extended further into occupational/recreational therapy students, and even plumber or electrician apprenticeships. The students would live within the retirement home rent free in exchange for 30hrs of volunteer companionship with the other residents. Both students are very confident in the idea they have outlined, stating the only barriers to their model would be lack of interest or lack of funding.
Based off similar fully functioning models in The Netherlands, both students conducted research as to why they believe this model could be implemented in Huron County. They found that although Goderich has many effective resources and initiatives, geriatric loneliness and social isolation is still very prevalent. This model could improve social interaction, cognitive stimulation, and coping strategies which in turn will increase overall health, and reduce the instances of dementia, depression, and hypertension in seniors. Through a three “S” system they would hope the model would allow for older adults be supported, safe, and socially connected. In addition to the health benefits for the individuals, this model would greatly benefit the community by integrating inspired youth into our rural areas.
Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health is very excited about the model and would like to see how it can be further implemented after the nurses leave to pursue the rest of their degree. Thank you, Lori and Kelley, for all your hard work and we wish you the best of luck in your future schooling and research!