Young people can provide an array of helpful services to older people including teaching new technology, visiting those who are isolated, and helping with home chores. Reports show that students who volunteer do better in school than their non-volunteering counterparts.
Young people develop a sense of belonging in their communities, and through serving older people, often gain an appreciation for the wholeness of life and learn that growing old is normal and natural. Funders may wish to replicate in their own community’s programs like these:
Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders), a national initiative coordinated by the Intergenerational Center at Temple University, mobilizes students at 14 colleges and universities across the country, to teach English to older immigrants and refugees, prepare them to become U.S. citizens, and help them to access health care services.
The ManaTEEN Club in Bradenton, FL, runs the Home Safety for Seniors program, which trains teens to evaluate older adults’ needs and to install safety equipment in their homes, including bathtub rails, deadbolts, and smoke alarms.
Groundwork Hudson Valley in Yonkers, NY, where teens survey older homeowners, identify needed yard and household repairs, and carry out improvements. Around 20 youth and 25 older adults each year participate in this program.
Time Out Respite, a program of the Intergenerational Center at Temple University, has a team of more than 100 trained college students who provide companionship and supervision for older people and respite for their family caregivers.
Visions Intergenerational Program recruits, trains, and employs New York City high school students to assist blind seniors in their homes and at Selis Manor, a center in Manhattan for blind youth, adults, and seniors. The 92 youth assist with reading, shopping, household chores, and technology to over 100 older adults with vision loss.
Heath Care Training
The demand for health care professionals is expected to rise over the next decade as the Baby Boomers age. Some programs are not only training high school and undergraduate students in geriatrics but giving these young people first-hand experience working with, and learning from, older adults.
Jewish Home Lifecare is a Geriatric Career Development program that prepares high school students in the New York City area for careers in geriatric care. Students commit to the program for three years with sessions two or three times a week, and participate in five-week internships in areas like adult day care, nursing, and social work. Each student has an elder mentor; together, they work on projects such as making crafts and exploring each other’s life histories.
The Gerontechnology Program at Pace University offers undergraduate students a service-learning course to be trained on providing technology instruction to older adults living in independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities. The students also learn about the process of aging. Evaluation has shown that the older adult participants gained a greater sense of well-being and self-worth, a more positive outlook on life, increased cognitive functioning, decreased levels of depression, and reduced social isolation.
Neighbors Growing Together (NGT), a part of Virginia Tech Intergenerational Programs, is designed to improve the lives of people across the lifespan through intergenerational collaboration involving teaching, research, and outreach. NGT combines the Adult Day Services program and the Child Development Center for Learning and Research and trains nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate students at Virginia Tech University in both areas.
Check out “Grantmakers In Aging” and stay in the know about the latest GIA projects, awards, conferences and more.
Read Article (staff | giaging.org | 2016)
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