Photo by Jessica Janoski, Saint Paul Pioneer Press

The world is made of collaborative opportunities.  Seizing on that the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Luther Seminary in Saint Paul and the Minneapolis-based senior housing provider Augustana have created a new partnership.

The partnership allows medical school students and seminary students to pay discounted rent at Augustana Apartments in exchange for their volunteer time with senior residents.  It also gives seniors the chance to share their years of wisdom and avoid feeling cut off from the rest of the world.

"We’ve been segregated," said June Englund, an 83-year-old resident of Augustana, in a recent Saint Paul Pioneer Press article.  "I missed seeing young people – and anybody under 83 is young."

Dr. Ed Ratner, a geriatrician and professor at the University of Minnesota, who leads the initiative at the U said he hopes the program will attract much-needed doctors to the geriatric field and potentially lower health care costs.  He also believes the presence of younger people could energize seniors and encourage them to live more healthfully.

"Having younger people around will bring back a better feeling of life for the future, and if we can keep people in their apartment versus going to a nursing home, we can lower health care costs through this."

You have to love this thinking and approach.  Congratulations to Dr. Ratner, Luther Seminary and our colleagues at Augustana Homes.