Elderly Care Ireland: My 93-Year-Old Flatmate

Elderly Care Ireland: My 93 Year Old Flatmate

Elderly Care Ireland - My 93 Year Old Flatmate


Elderly Care Ireland: This short documentary from SBS Dateline profiles life in a unique Dutch retirement home. Young and old live side-by-side sharing the joys of life, and the sadness of death, together.

“You have to try to throw a white ping pong ball into the beer, and then you have to drink it,” Annie Middelburg explains about the ‘beer pong’ drinking game she’s just learnt.

She’s 84… but she says that things are lot more fun when she’s spending time with youngsters like 22-year-old Jurrien Mentink.

He’s one of six students who live rent free at the Humanitas aged care home in Deventer near Amsterdam. In return, they agree to spend at least 30 hours a month socialising with the older residents.

“Students struggle to find housing in the Netherlands, especially in big cities,” Jurrien tells Aaron Lewis on Tuesday’s Dateline. “I pay nothing to live here.”

And it’s the housing crisis that prompted Humanitas to come up with this cheap way of providing better care, and company, for their residents.

“I think that the students influence the whole tone of the conversation here,” CEO Gea Sijpkes explains on the thinking behind her idea. “So that it’s not only about death, sickness and old age, but also about youth, about parties, about girlfriends.”

Inevitably these are friendships that can quite suddenly come to an end, as young and old face the final moments of life together.

“She wished me a good life, to get the most out of it,” Jurrien says of his 105-year-old neighbour shortly before she passed away. “It’s a nice feeling to help them find their final moments of happiness.”

Elderly Care Ireland

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