By Judith Gicobi
A nursing home in southern Japan is “employing” infants for a crucial task: making its elderly residents happy and cheerful. The wage? diapers and infant formula.
The Kitakyushu facility requires new hires to be under the age of four, and their guardians must sign a contract stating that the infants and young children can report to work “whenever they feel like it.”
According to the contract, they are permitted to take a break “when they feel hungry, sleepy, or depending on their mood.”
Kimie Gondo, the nursing home’s director, says more than 30 babies have already signed up to cheer up more than 100 residents, most of whom are in their 80s.
“The mere sight of babies makes our residents smile,” she told AFP, adding with a chuckle that “there is no shift roster or anything”
We’re hiring! is written in bold letters on the facility’s wall, along with the information that prospective employees will be paid in diapers and powdered milk.
It states that the primary duty of the chosen candidates, and possibly their only duty, will be to “take a stroll” around the nursing home with their guardians.
“The babies stay with their mothers all the time. It’s just like they’re being taken for a walk in a park,” Gondo said.
The residents have greeted the young recruits, engaged them in discussion, or given them hugs, all of which give the impression that they are charmed by them.
“They’re cute. It reminds me of when I was parenting,” one resident told a local TV station.
The plan has so far yielded good results, Gondo said.
“Some of the children get along with our residents so well, they’re now like real grandparents and grandchildren.”