Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 36

Feature disturbed by the students playing loud music or coming in late. Although a few of the students have complained about their neighbour’s televisions being too loud! “I don’t want the students to tip toe around the older people – I want them to live as they would normally.” So there are no curfews, no noise restrictions and no bans on overnight guests – for either age group! Even races between mobility scooter in the corridors are allowed! Anneloes, one of the students and a few of the residents of Humanitas enjoy a day out. “Living here always changes our students’ general view of ‘old people’,” laughs Gea. “They soon realise they’re all individuals with their own stories. I overheard one of our students looking at a picture of his elderly neighbour when she was in her twenties and saying to his friend: ‘Man, she was hot!’ The residents, young and old alike, meet up in Humanitas’ public rooms, the terrace, the garden, the gym and the billiards room. “No-one needs to be lonely at Humanitas,” says Gea, who adds that there is a waiting list for Humanitas’ apartments for the elderly, as well as the student apartments. Every night, Gea organizes an evening meal in the home’s restaurant. “At least one of the students comes along and joins in with the chat, adding a few jokes, stories from college or whatever,” says Gea. “Everyone mixes at Humanitas – and that’s helped Gea Sijpkes, director of Humanitas Home for the Elderly considerably by the students being here. Football matches are watched together, pizzas are ordered for last-minute suppers, there are informal computer and Facebook tuition sessions, the girls polish the ladies’ nails in disco colors... There’s always something happening. “Conversations constantly spring up between the generations when things are said without any boundaries – it’s from the heart. Incredible conversations take place at Humanitas about what really matters to the elderly and to the young.” Gea explains that some of the older residents spend more time with the younger residents than others – and adds that the friendships that spring up between the generations vary Sores and his friend and neighbour, Marty. 36 | ART OF DYING from passing acquaintances to deep attachments. “However, all of the older residents are very proud of ‘their’ students,” says Gea. “This initiative has changed the lives of so many of our residents, of all ages.”