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Grund Elderly Care Centre.

Organised Beer Tasting for Elderly Neighbours

A pilot project which provided housing for university students in elderly care centres in Reykjavík will continue this fall, Vísir reports. In exchange for the living space, students organised social events and provided company for their elderly neighbours. Two students participated in the pilot last year, and a new report on the project states the experience was a positive one.

The City of Reykjavík Welfare Committee confirmed the continuation and expansion of the pilot in a meeting in August. University students will receive housing in five elderly care centres and provide companionship and social activities at the locations. One student will reside at each of the five centres this fall, and two additional students will be added annually over the next two years.
Andrea Ósk Sigurbjörnsdóttir, enrolled in recreation studies, was one of the two students who participated in the pilot. While she says the project entailed many challenges, her experience was overall a positive one.

“It was a very fun experience. The project was sometimes taxing, but it’s definitely something that I absolutely don’t regret doing,” Andrea stated. “I went for walks with some of the residents and then chatted with others throughout the day. Then I tried to stimulate social life at the location by organising bingo, poetry evenings, and beer tasting, among other activities. That created a great atmosphere.”

Andrea says the project succeeded in bridging the gap between generations. Hey eyes were opened to all kinds of challenges faced by senior citizens, and at the same time she has undoubtedly opened the eyes of her former neighbours and widened their perspective. “I got a girlfriend during [the time I lived there] and she sometimes stayed with me and vice versa. Many residents thought she was my sister and some whispering was heard in the corridors. But I was just open about it and then it was no big deal.”

One aspect of the project Andrea thinks could be improved would be increasing the collaboration between students who take part. “I didn’t have any contact with the other participant and that would have certainly helped both of us.”

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