"Finland is a leader in the world with thoughtful, innovate ways to make life better for people"
I am a professor and teach social work and sociology classes at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA. As I was preparing a lesson on working with older adults, I came across the video, “A Home That Fits” on YouTube. I watched the video and was excited about the idea of having millennials live with seniors in nursing homes to help with the high cost of rent and homelessness for youth in Helsinki. It made sense! I shared the video with my social work classes and they were all impressed with this innovative project. It seems to be a win-win solution to problems of loneliness and isolation for older adults and for millennials it is a way to connect with another generation, provide service, develop relationships and have a place to live that is affordable.
Since the US will be facing the issue of a large, aging population we need new, thoughtful ways to address these issues. According to the United States Census Bureau, by 2029 more than 20% of the US population will be over the age of 65. Approximately, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day! Clearly, this will put a great deal of pressure on various American systems including housing, healthcare, social security, etc. Paring older adults with millennials to help each group have their needs met seems to be a wise solution. While millennials are finding their way into careers and adult life, this model bridges the needs for both groups in a practical way.
I will be visiting Helsinki in the beginning of June with five other colleagues to learn more about the many successes of the Finnish culture so we may bring this information back to the United States. Finland is a leader in the world with thoughtful, innovate ways to make life better for people. We look forward to learning from you and with you!
Hope Horowitz, Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Professor Social Work/Sociology
Northampton Community College
Bethlehem, PA 18020