A nursing home in Japan has made headlines for its means of keeping its elderly residents happy – hiring babies younger than 3 years old to visit “whenever they feel like it.”
The product of Moyai Seiyukai’s head facilitator, Gondo Kimie’s thinking, the world’s youngest (and most chilled) workforce has already recruited more than 30 toddlers, as AFP shares.
In exchange for their company, the compensation is baby formulas, diapers and cups of tea for the mothers.
According to Gondo, the idea came after she realised how much the residents perked up when her own grandchildren came to visit as babies. Soon, other staff members would bring their little ones to work as well.
Gondo adds that the presence of babies has brought big smiles to the faces of residents who usually don’t even move much.
There’s no fixed roster and no shift schedule either. The role is as simple as visiting when they can with their guardians.
AFP records that the only real responsibility is for the toddlers to stroll around the home with their guardians so that more residents can enjoy their company.
The contract elaborates that the toddlers can take a break based on their mood, whether they’re hungry or sleepy – something most adults would gladly sign up for.
Japan is known as one of the world’s loneliest countries, with some calling the loneliness a “societal condition” that existed before the pandemic.
In terms of social capital, Japan ranks 143 out of 167 countries, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.
Some reasons for the overall loneliness target Japan’s Work-Life Balance paradigms and even share that a reliance on technology has grown to fill social emptiness in the country.
Gono hopes that when the babies grow up, they’ll still keep in touch with their unofficial “grandparents”. Although her ‘recruitment’ for the nursing home might seem like a small and simple effort, it’s a striking reflection on generational loneliness in one of the world’s most advanced countries.
Feature Image: CNN