Housing unites seniors and migrants in Sweden!

Photo credit: The Guardian

Sallbo, a shared–living project mixing Swedish seniors and young adults, some from Sweden and others from the Middle East or Afghanistan have united people from various backgrounds in Sweden.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the six–storey building with 51 apartments helps residents with the ease of loneliness of advanced age–age and the integration difficulties facing newcomers who arrived as unaccompanied minors.

They have found a mutual interest in the Salibo apartments which they attribute to the cumulative impact of courtesy, kindness, mutual curiosity and understanding.

The aim is that if a person is different and would normally not socialize, they tend to do so when they find a safe environment.

Dragana Curovic, the project manager of Salibo said, “After three years, we can say that it worked.”

If they were not living under the same roof, the older Swedes and young migrants might not have mingled.

The Swedish seniors would have been influenced by the negative press reports linking the young migrants to crime.

Meanwhile, the migrants’ interactions with Swedes had been limited to asylum centre officials who set the tone for the migrants’ initial experience of the country and its people.

The officials were too busy to bond with the newcomers.

Salibo tries to get tenants engaged with each other. When moving in, they must agree to socialize at least two hours a week.

It can happen in shared kitchens, activity rooms, or cosy living areas. There are three common areas on each floor.

The pandemic also did a lot in bonding the Sallbo tenants. Younger residents went grocery shopping for elders. The elders returned the favour by helping those with low computer skills keep up with their online classes.

Sonja Hakansson, who oversees the building says, the project ” has worked better than I thought it would.”

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