Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness in the aged are associated with increased mortality.
A Dutch retirement home in the town of Deventer has for the past two years allowed university students to live rent-free in their apartments, in exchange for the youngsters providing company to the senior citizens living there.
Six students currently share the Humanitas Retirement Home with 160 pensioners, and spend a minimum of 30 hours a month doing things such as watching the sport with them, celebrating birthdays, and offering their companionship when they fall ill.
They also share cross-generational stories with each other, which helps the residents get a sense of what is happening in the outside world.
The students are free to live as students do, such as entertaining their friends and staying out late, but with one important proviso - not to be a nuisance to the elderly residents.
Africa Melane, standing in for Kieno Kammies, spoke to Gea Sijpkes, director of the Humanitas Retirement Home, and also to student resident Jordi Pronk. Listen to the full interview below: