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Service Learning: The Great Experience of an Off-Campus Class

Service Learning: The Great Experience of an Off-Campus Class

“Our enormous and rapidly growing older population is a vast, untapped social resource. If we engage these individuals in ways that fill urgent gaps in our society, the result will be a windfall for American civic life in the twenty-first century.” -Freedman, 1999

This semester I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an off-campus class called Issues in Aging. It is a psychology course taught by Dr. Steitz, and held at Brickstone, which is a St. John’s Senior Living Community. Elders that lived there were given the opportunity to take this class as well! Our main goals for this semester were:

1. To identify specific issues that occur during the aging process

2. To facilitate our understanding of said issue

The class was split into different groups of both elders and students, and in my group we have five students and four elders. The issue that my group identified was Adjusting to Assistance, and all of the changes that elders need to acknowledge in their lives. We have worked all semester for a conference and poster session to present the information that we have gathered and learned to try to educate others about the important issues that need attention.

This class has been a great opportunity for me, especially being a gerontology minor, to be able to work with different people, and really see what they think are issues in their lives that a textbook might miss. They have gained wisdom and knowledge throughout their lives and have been able to provide so much insight for our class that we hope to spread to the rest of the Nazareth and Rochester communities during our conference. Because of this class I feel better prepared to become a physical therapist due to my interactions with the elders and the insight they have shown me about what the real issues are in aging. I cannot wait to apply this information to help me with my future patients!

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Author

Snowboarder, waitress, Orientation leader, yogi, hiker, coffee addict, soccer player, and professional napper when I'm not busy being a PT major at Nazareth College with a Psychology and Gerontology minor!