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Bridging the gap: college students moving into retirement homes to save money—and share music

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/22/17

This seems to be a spreadingtrend:

When Western University graduate Heather Gingerich saw a news segment about an Ohio retirement home where music students lived alongside seniors, she was amazed at the electric atmosphere as the young residents conversed with and performed for their older neighbours. That kind of environment is one she wants to recreate in Canada with a program offering free room and board for a small group of Western University music students at a London, Ont., retirement home. The program currently plans to place three upper-year Western music students at Oakcrossing Retirement Living starting in October. In exchange for the free accommodation and meals, the students will be expected to spend a dozen hours a week with their elderly neighbours. Gingerich, who works for the retirement home and graduated from Western’s music program herself, said the idea is an inter-generational opportunity for both young and old to learn from each other. “When we share the program details, (residents) are extremely excited to be a part of it and see it develop,” said Gingerich. “They’re also intrigued by what it could mean for them, so it’s been nothing but positive.” Gingerich said the interaction with students and their music will enrich the lives of the home’s senior residents. And she hopes the program can foster a grandparent-like relationship between the students and residents. Betty Anne Younker, dean of Western’s music faculty, said she was excited about what the opportunity could bring for students. While she said she’ll need to see how successful the idea is before future expansion, she said the program could be broadened in the future.

Read more.And check out the video above about the program in Ohio.

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