The Housemates: Everything One Young Student Learnt about Love, Care and Dementia from Living in a Nursing Home


The inspiring international bestseller – an uplifting story of cross-generational living and friendship.

‘A lovely and humane book.’

SKU: 9781914613395 Categories: ,

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Twenty-one-year-old nursing student Teun Toebes (both broke and curious) decided to move into a nursing home and experience the daily life of elderly residents, not as a nurse or a carer – but as a housemate. The experience was to change his life, as well as the lives of his new friends. He initiated Friday drinks, trips out and camping evenings, and reintroduced pleasure in the small things in life: a laugh, a dance, a cup of good coffee, a chance to sit in the sun. As he became embedded in the community, however, Teun became more and more distressingly aware of how society and the care system diminishes the elderly and particularly people living with dementia – and he resolved to do something about it. A number 1 bestseller in the Netherlands, The Housemates is Teun Toebes’ story of his years of being a housemate, the friends who changed him and a heartfelt cry for change in how we care for the elderly.

‘[The Housemates]not only celebrates the joy of this particular form of intergenerational living, but irradiates the often-grim truth of life in Western dementia care … a lovely and humane book.’



‘A young Dutchman’s compelling account of his decision to move into a care home shines a light on a system that erodes self-worth.’




Daily Express


‘There are plenty of uplifting and charming moments at Friday night drinks and chats with his new eighty and ninety-something friends, as they swap notes on clothes, their love lives and their lives before. But there is real urgency at the core of this book.’

The Times


‘Celebrates the joy of intergenerational living, and questions whether we might treat old people differently.’

Fabulous Magazine

Translated by Laura Vroomen.

Read an extract.

Also available in ebook.