Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 36
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
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.
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
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
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.”