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Monday, April 24, 2017

Gerontology Students Living in Older Adult Communities (Research, Video 5:33)

The UN predicts that by 2050 more than 20% of the world population will be over age 60. In recent years, inclusion of gerontology students living with older adults has become more common in the United States and internationally. Using elements of service-learning, community participation, and residential immersion, gerontology students are receiving broader field experience in gerontology education.

This research, which involved a gerontology student living in older adult housing for 3.5 years, is among the longest and most intensive gerontological field experience ever reported.  Based on more than 2,000 hours of observations and conversational interviews with 14 elderly residents, this study reflects the importance of shared history, support for one another, negotiation of environmental tensions, and demand for attention on the part of residents. This unique combination of physical and social proximity in an intergenerational alliance enables life enhancement for older adults and learning opportunities for students.

The research reported above recommends that student live-in roles with older adults become more formal. This video features an innovative retirement home in the Netherlands that has opened its doors to college students who live on site and help residents in return for free lodgings while they carry out their studies.



Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.