The University of the Sunshine Coast is planning to trial the proposed living arrangements with just six students, who will live in decommissioned rooms in the Cooinda Aged Care Centre (pictured) just next door to the USC campus and two hours north of Brisbane CBD.
The trial, which imitates similar schemes in Holland, Germany and the US, involves students living in the facility, which are perfectly liveable but no longer up to aged care standards, at a significantly reduced rent.
The students would then be expected to do volunteer work with the aged care residents to improve their socialisation – for example, having meals with them.
The university will also run a clinical study to see whether that socialisation has any measurable effect on residents at the centre.
The idea of encouraging young people to spend time with aged care residents has also been a point of discussion in the Royal Commission.
At the public community forum in west Melbourne earlier this month, one speaker suggested to Commissioner Lynelle Briggs that the government could incentivise younger people to work as volunteers by reducing their HECS debt in exchange for hours logged helping residents in aged care facilities.