In return for a cheap rent, Finnish 18- to 25-year-olds are befriending older people in a state-run care home and helping provide a range of social activities

It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon and residents of the Rudolf Seniors Home – Helsinki’s largest state care home – are eating raspberry swiss roll and having a spirited guitar singalong to some traditional Finnish tunes.

Among the trestle tables and rocking chairs occupied by the elderly Finns in the common room is someone considerably younger. Eighteen-year-old Serafina Eljaala is one of three young people who live in the care home. In exchange for cheap rent she spends five hours a week socialising with its more traditional clientele.

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