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Saturday, October 27, 2007

A more positive view of the elderly...

After posting my review of Dr. Rubin's 60 On Up: the Truth About Aging in America, I received a google-alert and went to Seniors World Chronicle, edited by Ravissant, where he had posted my review. Ravissant's blog is a look at all sides of the world of elders: informative, inspiring, innovative; there are daily articles gathered from across the globe that are of interest to the "60 on up" generation.

Since I spend a fair amount of time at The Cottage (where my father stays in an Alzheimer's unit modeled after the Johns Hopkins' Green House Model), I see how much these individuals enjoy and appreciate people who seem interested in them. One of my father's joys right now is the interest that an occupational therapist intern has shown in him. And believe me, this young man has gone way beyond the call of his internship.

This article, which was originally published in the Los Angeles Times and which Ravissant picked up, describes how gerontology students at the University of Southern California live in Kingsley Manor, a home which cares for the elderly.What a great idea! Learn and serve at the same time. The students provide 16 hours a week in volunteer services (teaching tai chi, helping with activities), and in return, get a free room and meals close to campus. Since Kingsley Manor is not, as The Cottages where my father resides, dedicated to dementia patients, the elders at this home benefit even more from the presence of the students...and the students benefit from real relationships with the segment of the population they eventually hope to serve. This is the kind of program that I think Lillian Rubin wants people to consider when thinking about ideas and policies that will improve the situation for the elderly.

Thanks, Ravissant, for providing a source of interesting, informative, and helpful articles!


  1. That is a remarkably simple idea to place gerontology students next door to their future subjects.

    I wish more service clubs for teens would chose to spend 2 hours a week at a retirement community. Ageism is rampant now that ads focus selling to the younger and dumber, making them feel wise beyond his/her years. Of course, I'm speaking in generals, but I do feel the older generation is becoming as throw away as a McDonalds Happy Meal to our youth.

  2. This is a wonderful idea, and I hope it becomes more and more common. That was such an uplifting photo of the dancing.

  3. Maggie -- It is simple, isn't it? Free room and meals while you learn about the very people you are planning to spend your life working with.

    Elders without family are particularly subject to that "disposable" concept of the Happy Meal. I agree that service clubs for teens could perform a useful function by spending time in retirement communities. Young people can be helpful in so many ways, and they would also benefit from the contact with their seniors.

    Nan -- I agree, and I loved the picture of the dancing, too!