45 senior citizens and 6 college students live in the Watkins assisted living home in Winona. Why are 6 college students living there? Cheryl Krage, the Winona Health assisted living director, proposed the idea when there were empty rooms in the Watkins mansion.

Students pay $500 a month in rent if they volunteer for 10 hours. Rent then drops to $200 a month is they volunteer for 20 hours. Food is included and, of course, they're encouraged to eat with the residents.

One of the students, Hanna, who is a nursing student, paints nails. Ashley offers technical support and she also does a weekly Bible study with 89-year-old Allen Thompson. Laura, who is a grad student, hosts weekly crocheting sessions.

The senior residents love having them around. One resident, Nancy Neumann, told Boyd Huppert of KARE 11 “'Even though I was never married, they are like my little grandchildren.'” All of the students agree the Watkins mansion feels like home.

I think this idea is fantastic and that more assisted living homes should entertain the idea of doing this. Next year, the Watkins assisted living home plans to open up rooms for 10 students next year.

Source: KARE 11

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