Students in Milan are moving in with the elderly to fight loneliness and save money

Conte Italy Prime Minister

Mr Giuseppe CONTE, Italian Prime Minister. Copyright: European Union Event: European Council – June 2018 (Day 2)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum. 

Author: Emma Charlton, Writer


Would you like to adopt a student? That’s the question being posed to Milan’s elderly, as Italy’s most expensive city seeks to match young people looking for affordable accommodation with seniors in need of company.

The “Take Home a Student” project was conceived by MeglioMilano, or “Better Milan”, a non-profit organization, and has created more than 600 pairs since it began in 2004. The students pay some expenses, carry out household tasks and spend time with their hosts, creating what the organizers call a “virtuous circle” which brings companionship to pensioners while offering a peaceful study environment.

The initiative is mutually beneficial, according to Simonpaolo Buongiardino, President of MeglioMilano, because it fosters solidarity by bringing two generations together.

The pros and cons of young and old people sharing living space.
Image: Homeshare UK

As well as demonstrating how intergenerational home-sharing can improve wellbeing, the initiative underscores a growing awareness that isolation is a facet of modern life for all age groups. With many studies showing poor mental health is on the rise, governments are starting to pay attention. In the US, health experts have warned of a “loneliness epidemic” and the UK has appointed a “Minister for Loneliness”.

It also reflects demographic shifts underway around the world, with people living longer and ageing populations prompting policymakers to reevaluate their thinking in many key areas. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, the global population of those over 60 will reach 1 billion and in time, the world’s old will outnumber the young.

The global population of people over 60 will reach 1 billion by 2020.
Image: World Economic Forum

Homeshare initiatives are underway in many countries, including in the US, Europe and Australia. Most of the programmes pair an older person with a spare room, with a person in need of low-cost accommodation, in return for as many as 10 hours of household tasks or company each week.

Even so, there are challenges, with some homesharers reporting difficulties in adjusting to sharing space, a misalignment of expectations, and an uneasy feeling about addressing issues around cleaning and house rules.

Even so, such initiatives are likely to become more prevalent as more people get older. The European Union forecasts that the share of people aged 80 years or over will more than double by 2080, to reach 13% of the whole population. Within the bloc, Italy had the highest median age in 2007, along with Germany, at 45.9 years, the data showed. And at 22.3%, Italy also had the largest share of people aged 65 or older.

Italy’s population is the oldest in Europe, and getting older.
Image: Eurostat

Students who participate in the scheme in Milan said the most obvious benefits are gaining knowledge of a generation different from their own, feeling useful and learning about the city from their host.

Milanese universities have around 180,000 students, 72% of whom aren’t from the city and need good quality, temporary accommodation. At the same time, there are about 320,000 people aged over 65, many of whom live in houses too large for their needs.

In the majority of cases in Milan, older women host female students and the average cohabitation lasts between eight and 10 months.

“The project is based on a very simple idea,” according to the MeglioMilano website. “To bring two generations together for mutual help and constructive comparison.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Pakistan: UN strongly condemns terrorist attack that leaves scores dead and wounded at election rally

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

ECB intervenes to clean May’s and Schäuble’s mess

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

How to end overfishing in the global South

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

GSMA announces speakers for Mobile 360 Series-West Africa

Germany’s fiscal and financial self-destructive policies

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

‘Stronger’ effort must be made to cement peace deal for South Sudanese women and girls: UN Women chief

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

How will Brexit affect higher education in the EU?

Grexit no longer a threat but how to manage a “tutti frutti” government if not with fear?

US-China trade war at point of no return: Washington’s demands go beyond tariffs

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

Why the ECB suddenly decided to flood banks with money?

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

Five years down the drain

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

It’s Brexit again: Nigel Farage launches a personal campaign to lead the ‘No’ front

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Britain’s May won the first round on the Brexit agreement with the EU

Will Western Balkans respond positively to EU initiatives?

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

Deutsche Bank chased away from US, threatened with more fines

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

In Yemen, Special Envoy sees UN role in preserving ‘essential’ aid pipeline at country’s major port

Terrorists potentially target millions in makeshift biological weapons ‘laboratories’, UN forum hears

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

An EU first: youth Ministers debate youth participation in live broadcast

Energy Union: deals on efficiency targets and governance

These are the most desirable cities for overseas workers

A long German political winter is on the way

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

EU regional differences betray an unjust arrangement

The ECB ‘accidentally’ followed IMF‘s policy advice for growth and job creation by printing more money

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

To entrepreneurship and beyond!

EU steps up its strategy for connecting Europe and Asia

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2015: The power of an individual and how we can awaken Europe’s Youth

How secure is blockchain?

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

Novartis and Johnson & Johnson to deprive Europeans of their right to Health

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

EU unfolds strategy on the Egypt question

What will the US look like under Trump? Was his election campaign a big scam?

Why the euro may rise with the dollar even at lower interest rates

Future of our planet hinges on action by today’s youth – UN deputy chief

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

More ‘political commitment’ needed urgently for HIV prevention: UNAIDS chief

Trade Committee MEPs give greenlight to landmark EU-Japan trade agreement

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s