- KARE 11
- Six students from Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, both in Winona, Minnesota, are living at Senior Living at Watkins, an assisted living facility near their campuses.
- Cheryl Krage, assisted living director for Winona Health, which operates the facility told KARE 11 that the program, called “Students in Residents”, helps students and seniors bond with each other.
- Students live in the building for $400 a month, and their meals are free. They have to volunteer for 10 hours a month as part of the program.
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A senior living home in Minnesota is taking on several much younger residents: college students.
Six students from Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota have moved into Senior Living at Watkins, an assisted living facility in Winona, as they attend school, according to local station KARE 11.
Cheryl Krage, assisted living director for Winona Health, which operates the facility, suggested the idea.
The building features 45 modern housing units for seniors attached to a century-old mansion. There were eight empty rooms above the mansion’s common room, and Krage thought it was a good time to offer the spots to college students under a program called “Students in Residents.”
The program is “designed to be mutually beneficial to students and seniors,” according to Winona Health’s website.
Students live in the building for $400 a month, and have to volunteer with the facility for 10 hours a month. All their meals are free.
Krage said the program is a “perfect opportunity for students interested in any aspect of healthcare, whether they are considering med school, pursuing a career in nursing, social work, rehabilitative therapy, or music therapy.”
The students help facilitate game nights and recreational activities, and the more they volunteer, the lower the rent is, according to Winona Health.
Krage told KARE 11 that the residency is not only an opportunity to experience multi-generational housing, but also share social time.
“I hear residents wondering how the students are doing with their studies. ‘Are you eating enough, are you getting enough fruits and vegetables?'” Krage told KARE 11.
Senior residents of the facility told KARE 11 that the program was a “breath of fresh air,” and said the students are like their grandchildren.
“I didn’t know exactly how we would interact with one another, but it’s really worked out super-well,” Hanna Rottier, one of the students, told KARE 11. “Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Krage said if this year’s program is successful, they’ll open it to 10 students next year.
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